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.

Between wandering and waiting

            Image: Roman Ondak, Good Feelings in Good Times

I am in the process of further developing a phase of research activity that investigates the creative and critical value of forms of non-production within artistic and performance-based practice, and which will be used as a way of refocusing some of the ideas that have been emerging over the last few years within my practice. This research area is a distillation of a number of concerns emerging within my ongoing art-writing practice, Not Yet There. This broader enquiry explores how irresolution, uncertainty, disorientation and the process of ‘getting lost’ can be discussed as strategic conditions of artistic practice, by attempting the critical recuperation/interrogation of subjectively-felt experiences such as failure, deferral, disappointment, boredom, indecision, restlessness. 

Emerging from my own practice – and the questions/struggle therein – my research explores the critical value of those moments before a decision/resolution has been reached and the points at which ‘thinking’ is activated/provoked within practice. My practice is concerned with prolonging, emphasising and honouring this space of indeterminacy or potentiality in order to investigate the specific qualities of the critical ‘thinking’ that precedes – or might indeed be different to – ‘knowledge’. My work attempts to shift attention from the deliberate (directly purposeful) to the process of deliberation (care/weighing-up) insisting that purpose or meaning might not always be synonymous with the notion of achieving a ‘goal’.