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

Man covered in clear plastic holding a clear plastic beam
Cos Ahmet - picture of the artist draped in his props

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?

I am currently collaborating on a new feature length film and sound work with fellow artist and co-conspirator, Gary Finnegan, continuing our shared interest in the moving image. Building on from our previous duo works in moving image, where before, filmed elements were created individually, then brought together, this project focuses on visualising, compiling and shaping the works in unison - becoming co-directors for the very first time. We plan to stage this new work in 2024.

View our other collaborative works and duo shows here:

At the start of 2023 my works were featured on 6x6 project. Founded by artist Mirelle Borra in 2017, 6x6 project is an artist-run online platform based in Berlin, and is dedicated to the distribution and promotion of artists’ works in digital form.

View my work here:

Earlier this Summer, Lulu Nunn of HOAX Publication featured ‘dust of traces faint, into fading blurring’, a work which is part video, part text and part image as a permanent work online and on the HOAX archive. Text has played quite minor part in my work. However, it has proved to be another expressive tool that I have occasionally use as part my growing practice.

HOAX is a curatorial project dedicated to giving an online, print and IRL platform to work that exists at the intersection of art and creative writing. Started by Lulu Nunn in 2011, HOAX examines the evolving use of text in the arts, and to be a positive, collaborative and emancipatory presence in an increasingly exploitative and reactionary art world.

Watch and read here: cos-ahmet-dust-of-traces-faint-into-fading-blurring