Emma Cocker is a writer-artist and Reader in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. Operating under the title, Not Yet There, her enquiry explores models of practice – and subjectivity – that resist or refuse the pressure of a single, stable position by remaining wilfully unresolved. Not Yet There is shaped by an interdisciplinary, hybridized approach, operating restlessly along the threshold of writing/art. Whilst embracing the potential of the essayistic (as a tentative effort or trial), Cocker's practice includes experimental, performative and collaborative approaches to producing texts parallel to and as art practice. Processes of appropriation, extraction, fragmentation, listing, footnoting and cross-referencing have become critical methods for attempting to produce 'openings' rather than drawing conclusions. Not Yet There involves the slippage between writing on page, to performance in time, between still and moving image, between individual and collective action.
Cocker’s ongoing enquiry is often concerned with the endeavour of artistic labour (the unfolding decision-making, thinking-in-action, the navigation of competing forces, the activity of working with/through obstacles or of ‘figuring’ something out), asserting value for this habitually unseen, undisclosed or often unsharable aspect of an artist’s/writer’s practice. Not Yet There addresses the critical value of those moments before a decision or resolution has been reached, the points where ‘thinking’ is activated or provoked within practice. Here, Cocker is concerned with prolonging, emphasising and honouring this space of indeterminacy, by investigating the potentiality of a form of ‘thinking’ that precedes and might indeed be different, to ‘knowledge’. Not Yet There involves a shift of attention from the deliberate (directly purposeful) to the process of deliberation (care/weighing-up), by insisting that purpose or meaning is not always synonymous with the notion of achieving a ‘goal’.
Cocker often works collaboratively with other artists: she is currently collaborating with artist Clare Thornton on an ongoing project called The Italic I (2012>) and is a key researcher on the project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations of the Line (2014>), a collaboration with artist Nikolaus Gansterer and choreographer Mariella Greil, for exploring and notating those forms of thinking-feeling-knowing produced as the practices of writing, drawing and movement collide. This project builds on her previous collaboration with Gansterer producing a series of performance-lectures entitled Drawing on Drawing a Hypothesis, presented at M_HKA, Antwerp; KNAW, Amsterdam; Kunsthalle Project Space, Vienna and NGBK, Berlin, and as part of 'An Exhibition on the Study of Knowledge', Stadtpark Forum, Graz. Cocker previously collaborated with performance collective Open City (2007 – 2010) and on a project entitled Re- with writer-curator, Rachel Lois Clapham, iterations of which were presented in Afterlive (Norwich Arts Centre, 2010), Unfixed (Flat Time House, The John Latham Archive, London, 2010); Writing (the) Space, (Wild Pansy Press Project Space, Leeds, 2011) and Accidentally on Purpose (Quad, Derby, 2012),
Cocker’s writing has been published in academic collections, monographs, exhibition catalogues, art journals and artist’s books, and she has presented papers and lectures internationally. Her recent academic writing has been published in Failure, (Documents of Contemporary Art Series, Whitechapel/MIT, 2010); Contemporary Art / Classical Myth (Ashgate Press, 2011); Stillness in a Mobile World (Routledge, 2011); Hyperdrawing: Beyond the Lines of Contemporary Art (I.B.Tauris, 2011); Drawing a Hypothesis: Figures of Thought (Springer, 2011); Liminal Landscapes, (Routledge, 2011); Emerging Landscapes: Between Production and Representation (2012); Reading/Feeling (If I Can’t Dance…, 2013); On Not Knowing: How Artists Think (Black Dog, 2013). Her first collection of writing, The Yes of the No, was published by Site Gallery, 2016. Cocker is a member of the Publishing Advisory Group for the Live Art Development Agency, part of the Editorial Board for Architecture and Culture, and a peer-reviewer for TRACEY, Rhizomes, Area and Architecture and Culture. From 2001 – 2005 she was co-editor of the publication series Transmission: Speaking and Listening – a joint venture between Site Gallery and Sheffield Hallam University. Cocker's writing on contemporary art has been published in magazines/journals including Frieze, Camera Austria, Dance Theatre Journal, The Art Book, a-n, engage, drain, m/c, Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, art + research and Performance Research.