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.

Writing: ANTI festival

I have provisionally been invited to write a critical response to the forthcoming ANTI festival which will be taking place in Finland from September 29 - 3 October. More to follow soon.

ANTI Festival 2010 will focus on textual, written and language-based responses to site specificity. We encourage artists working across a range of media to consider the following areas of enquiry, these include, but are not limited to:
  • Page and screen-based responses to site - contextual approaches to publication and dissemination
  • Mapping and mark-making - geographic and topographic textual processes
  • Inscription - the materiality of writing
  • Language and translation – nationhood and place
  • Writing as performance - live writing as contextual and site-based practice
  • Performance texts and site-based processes – spatial/contextual engagement and live utterance
ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival will be held in Kuopio, Finland between Sept 29th – Oct 3rd 2010.
ANTI is an international contemporary arts festival presenting site-specific works made for public space. Over the past eight years ANTI has presented live, sonic, visual and text-based art from today’s most exciting and innovative artists. A truly international festival and Finland’s foremost presenter of Live Art, ANTI is a meeting place for artists and audiences fascinated by how art shapes and responds to the places and spaces of everyday life.
ANTI’s emphasis is on site-specificity. The festival understands this term in an expanded sense; proposals may suggest works that deal with a site geographically, culturally or by association etc.


INTER is a contingent state of being between, among, in the midst of, within a group. It signals towards mutuality and collectivity; towards existing together, experiences produced during or with. It is also the act of being put to ground, the condition of a body buried. ‘Burying oneself’ alternatively describes the state of being immersed in a particular task, situation or site. INTER troubles the surface, working from the interior, on the inside. INTER describes the state of criticism where I propose to operate interstitially–as interlocutor, interviewer, interrogator, intermediary–to generate a critical response in the form of fieldwork/art-writing exploring the interactions and interrelationships produced at/through/within ANTIfestival.

I am interested in the art-work as site; of art-writing as a necessarily site-specific practice with a particular temporal and spatial relation to the context in which it is produced. As an art-writer my practice is often generated at the site of another’s production. The encounter with a site (the space-time of a festival/exhibition, the practice of another) operates as a catalyst for activating a thinking process, within which certain extant ideas and interests become interrogated, brought to the fore. It is through the encounter with another (site/work/thought/word/body) that a particular trajectory of thinking (and of writing) becomes set in motion; that ideas are activated or awoken. Writing is the residue or remainder of a relational exchange, the product of a meeting point between self and other, myself and the world. Rather than an act of criticism that only takes place after the event (from a position of authority, always located elsewhere), I am interested in what it means to write from/within/at the site of practice. Here, the site/context of practice not only refers to the site of the artwork itself, but the apprehension of and engagement with those rather more interstitial spaces of (art) production and reception – the unspoken interval between an artist’s intentions and resultant work, the interaction between art and site, art and audience, one work and another.

My writing practice is not one of reportage or critique but rather an attempt to locate myself in and write out of the space of art practice. One practice becomes grafted into the territory of another in order to generate a new form of production emerging at the suture where the two practices meet. My work is often forced by the germinal conditions provided by external forces or pressures; it attempts to access the logic of another’s practice whilst developing new ideas through a parallel or tangential line of enquiry. Mine is not an attempt to speak on behalf of another, but to write alongside, operate dialogically.

What might it then mean to produce a critical text that is site-specific to ANTIfestival – to explore what might here constitute site? Working on-site at the festival I will generate textual fieldwork/raw material (writing/mapping/diagramming/recording from observations, interviews, encounters and interactions within ANTIfestival) that will inform and form a new piece of writing that explores and performs the specific terms of site-specificity provoked/produced through the festival.