'Being acknowledged through royalties drives us to keep going' - Artist Cos Ahmet on Payback

    Artist Cos Ahmet’s multidisciplinary practice is preoccupied by the relationship between the body and materiality. Here, he explains how the Payback scheme has made a difference to his practice and career. 

    Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?


    In 2021 I completed my MA in Fine Art at Liverpool John Moores University. Study began six months prior to the pandemic hitting us all in March 2020, which would dramatically change the way we see, work, think and behave. So this weird moment in time became quite pivotal and challenging, which only made me more determined to push myself into that new place I was looking for, that was further enhanced by inventing new modes of working.

    In my current practice, I work across sculpture, installation, performance, sound and video. I am preoccupied by the relationship between the body and materiality, examining how the body intervenes with a material that changes its language with each contact attempt, asking the question: ‘when does the body stop being (a body) and become the material?’  I am interested in gathering a set of nuances that the body performs through sculptural gestures that in turn gives the material objects I create a certain charge.

    Material has been a constant in my practice, appearing as sculpture/object at first, that would later transform into choreographic objects, that in essence possess a life before and after the act, in an expression I coined (during my MA following my introduction to performance), as ‘pre-post-performance-props’.

    Tying all of this together is ‘collaboration’, which has become significant to my current practice. In my collaborations, the push towards the questions I ask regarding ‘body-material interventions’ take on new forms, adding to my growing discourses around choreography and new materialism, bringing to attention the sensual and somatic engagement with bodies both human and object/material.

    How long have you claimed Payback?


    I have been claiming royalties since 2011. Prior to this, I had zero knowledge about Payback until a good friend of mine brought my attention to claiming royalties on publications. I am extremely grateful to him for doing so! Since then, I have directed my fellow artist colleagues to DACS so they can do the same.

    What difference do royalty payments make to your practice? (Are royalties important to you? How do they enable you as a creator?)

    Royalty payments, however large or small, go back into my practice and new work, either in the form of materials or equipment, to enable me to continue with what I love doing. I think the fact that practicing artists and designers alike are being acknowledged through Payback royalties drives us to keep going.

    What advice would you give to creators yet to claim Payback?

    Don’t hold back! It gave me a whole new focus on tracking how my work and practice is being exposed through UK publications. DACS are extremely supportive and accommodating, especially if this is your first time applying for Payback. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially the most obvious or silly ones. Believe me, I have asked them all!

    What projects do you have coming up?

    Since completing my MA in September 2021, I was awarded the prize for Best Presentation by Judith Carlton, Director of Southwark Park Galleries in London, who visited our final MA show. I am now receiving mentoring, formal crits, with studio visits and introductions to artists and organisations within her network planned for later this year, all with the possibilities of new connections and collaborations in the future.

    I recently completed a graduate residency at Static Studios in Liverpool, awarded to myself and two fellow Fine Art MA students. On this residency I collaborated with Gary Finnegan, creating an experimental film called ‘500 1000 1000 unknown’, 2022, and plan to take this experience into a larger work that we will be proposing for a duo show.

    We shall be taking this work into its second iteration for the forthcoming group exhibition ‘Clearance’, being installed in Lewis’s — a former department store in Liverpool) which opens 10 May and runs until 20 May 2022.

    In between all of this, I will continue pushing and developing ideas for solo and collaborative projects.

    Find out more


    Image: Cos Ahmet - picture of the artist draped in his props

    Posted on 11/04/2022 by Bel New