Emma Cocker is a writer-artist based in Sheffield and Reader in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. Operating under the title Not Yet There, her 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 willfully unresolved. Cocker’s work unfolds restlessly along the threshold between writing/art, often involving experimental, collaborative and performative approaches to writing in dialogue with, parallel to and as art practice. Her 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, and On Not Knowing: How Artists Think, 2013, and as a collection entitled The Yes of the No, 2016. She is currently co-researcher on the project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, 2014 – 2017.

Presentation: What now, What Next - Kairotic Imagination and the Unfolding Future Seized



First then, to set the scene […] There is a room, stripped back, bare. Maybe the lights are dimmed. Illumination comes from a chain of naked light bulbs — of different colours perhaps — strung up somewhat haphazardly … and from the gleam of a spotlight, which picks out two figures from the surrounding dark. Two figures – let’s say a man and a woman. They pause … then begin to speak. It would be improper to steal the thunder of their very first line, so … imagine an ellipsis … the dot-dot-dot of passing time. Two figures exchanging visions of the future, swapping narratives of optimism and despair, utopian and dystopian imaginings. A man and a woman, illuminated, mid-flow in the to-and-fro of exchange: “… in the future, everyone will have brown eyes; or ... in the future there’ll be no word for weekend; or ... in the future small will be beautiful; or... in the future no-one will care about algebra or trigonometry or sequence patterns or anything mathematical because computers will do it all, no problem; or ... people will grow an extra thumb for quicker texting; or, people will learn to walk on water; or, everyone will speak all the languages of the world; or ... no-one will remember the seventies … or buses … or takeaways or… dirty weekends”. The two continue to imagine what the future might be like through an unfolding litany of prediction, projection, prospection and prophecy: “in the future; or … in the future; or … in the future … or … or … or ” and so on.

My full paper, What now, What Next - Kairotic Imagination and the Unfolding Future Seized, can be read below. The paper was presented as a key-note at In Imagination: The Future Reflected in Art and Argument, at University of Sheffield, 4 Oct 2013.