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 enquiry focuses on the process of artistic endeavour, alongside 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.

Publication: On Not Knowing: How Artists Think





The publication On Not Knowing: How Artists Think (eds.) Rebecca Fortnum and Elizabeth Fisher (Black Dog Publishing, 2013) to which I have contributed a text 'Tactics for Not Knowing: Preparing for the Unexpected' and two artist's pages (in collaboration with Clare Thornton and Rachel Lois Clapham respectively)  is now available here

How far does our openness to aesthetic experience, and new forms of knowledge, depend on our capacity to enter and indulge states of wonder and awe, doubt and failure, ignorance and play? How critical are these conditions to the creative process? How do artists invite the unknown into their creative practice? On Not Knowing brings together contemporary artists and thinkers from a range of disciplines to explore the role of ‘not knowing’ within the creative process. The state of ‘not knowing’ or engaging with the unknown is an important aspect of all research. For artists it is crucial, as the making process often balances a strong sense of direction with a more playful or meditative state of exploration and experimentation.
Contributions include:

Dennis Atkinson, Pedagogy of the Not Known
Phyllida Barlow (in conversation with Elizabeth Fisher), Unidentified Foreign Objects
Sonia Boyce and Sarah Cole in conversation, Gulp
Emma Cocker, Tactics for Not Knowing – Preparing for the Unexpected
Cornford & Cross, Mobilising Uncertainty
Elizabeth Fisher, In a Language You Don’t Understand
Rebecca Fortnum, Creative Accounting – Not Knowing in Talking and Making
Rachel Jones, On the Value of Not Knowing – Wonder, Beginning Again and Letting Be
Ian Kiaer, Studio
London Fieldworks, Towards the Reification of a Wandering Mind
Office of Experiments, On Being Overt- Secrecy and Covert Culture
Gary Peters, Ahead of the Yes and No – Heidegger on Not Knowing and Art
Jyrki Siukonen, Made in Silence? On Words and Bricolage
Andrew Warstat, Unteachable and Unlearnable, The Ignorance of Artists


Image: Sarah Cole, Loving is Work, performance video documentation from A Million Minutes,  developed in collaboration with Islington Carer’s Centre, 2013. Camera and post-production: Karl Cresser. Courtesy of the artist.