Emma Cocker is a writer-artist and Reader in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. Operating under the title Not Yet There, her research often addresses the endeavour of creative labour, focusing on models of (art) practice and subjectivity that resist or refuse the pressure of a single or stable position by remaining willfully unresolved. Not Yet There unfolds as an interdisciplinary, hybridized enquiry that operates restlessly along the threshold of writing/art, involving performative, collaborative and creative prose approaches to writing about, parallel to and as art practice. Cocker's recent writing has been published in Failure, 2010; Stillness in a Mobile World, 2011; Drawing a Hypothesis: Figures of Thought, 2011; Hyperdrawing: Beyond the Lines of Contemporary Art, 2012; On Not Knowing: How Artists Think, 2013, and Reading/Feeling, 2013.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Above: text work exploring 'journeys' as part of Writing Live.

I have been invited to be involved in the project, Writing Live.

Writing Live is a trans-Atlantic contemporary critical writing programme developed by Open Dialogues, Performa09 and the Space Between Words. The programme launches in New York during Performa 09 and moves to the UK in 2010.

Writing Live is an equal community of peers who understand the importance of intergenerational dialogue, artist communities, collaborative process and unknown product

Writing Live questions:

* What is the future of experimental critical writing and how is it being informed by its past?

* How might the practices of different generations – from avant-garde pioneers to recent graduates – be brought into contact?

* How might live/visual/textual practitioners, artist scholars experimenting with writing’s forms, and artists working with text come together?

Below is a response to my proposition/instruction from New York based writer/artist Rebecca Armstrong.

From A – B.  Or here – there. (response to Emma Cocker)


First difficulty:  I am: 1. either lost or 2. off the map.  These being equivalent. 


And then: With my eyes closed I am hazard, I am rude, I am white girl in the way.  Better to move through, here, if there is here, better to move on.  This city street floods, founders.  I fly through it.  I don’t topple.  The man who is always there is always there.  When he is not there, his clothes sit empty, holding his place. 


The same street a different morning.  Moving.  The same face, the same hat, the same corner, fly by.  Is it still a stranger if you see it every day?  In a crowd on a different corner would you be able to return that face to this place?  Yes or no?  This means: home or away.


The difficulty is, as usual, death.


I have lived in places where it was possible: to close your eyes, to go by feel.  This is not that place.  (Now we have established A, B.)  First, another country, without street names.  Then, this country’s past.  Then, the days of blindfolds and long afternoons, alleyways.  Were you leading or being led?  The dream of a bicycle.  The dream of a skinned knee.


The possibility of a return journey.