Emma Cocker is a writer-artist based in Sheffield and Associate Professor in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. Operating under the title Not Yet There, Cocker's research focuses on the process of artistic exploration and the performing of ‘thinking-in-action’ emerging therein; on models of (art) practice and subjectivity that resist the pressure of a single, stable position by remaining wilfully unresolved. Her mode of working unfolds restlessly along the threshold between writing/art, including experimental, performative and collaborative approaches to producing texts parallel to and as art practice. Cocker's recent writing has been published in Failure, 2010; Stillness in a Mobile World, 2010; Drawing a Hypothesis: Figures of Thought, 2011; Hyperdrawing: Beyond the Lines of Contemporary Art, 2012; Reading/Feeling (Affect), 2013; On Not Knowing: How Artists Think, 2013; Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, 2017; The Creative Critic: Writing as/about Practice, and as a solo collection entitled The Yes of the No, 2016.


Galerie5020, Salzburg
21.09.06 - 07.10.06.

Image: Julie Westerman

Commissioned exhibition essay for Distance, an exhibition of work emerging from an exchange between artists from S1 Artspace, Sheffield and Galerie5020, Salzburg.The text explores the notion of distance in relation to proverbial and anthropological accounts of both individual and collective social behaviour and human interaction. Using the metaphor of the body as a symbol of wider social systems, and especially in connection to the tourist or heritage site, the concept of distance is explored as a gesture of protection but also of exclusion. Distance is proposed as an act of separation and isolation, which aims to preserve against unwanted change or progression, but which inevitably results in stasis or stagnation within the body, social system or city space. Referring to the work in the exhibition, the intent is explore how the process of cultural exchange and artistic practice might contribute a sense of dynamism to the social system; where the exchange and flow of ideas and influences might operate as a pulse or energy providing city spaces with potentiality and possibility. The text explores how the notion of cultural distance can be seen to encourage the development of different positions and experiences in order that new social meanings and perspectives might be negotiated, constructed or contested; enabling a more complex dialogic or empathetic relationship with other’s pasts and presents, as well as with one’s own.

Read the essay here