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.

(not) new work

I am currently developing ideas for the publication which is being produced through collaboration with other art-writers/artists as part of the Critical Communities project.

Re: Writing
In the process of writing about other things I have noticed that there are often these embedded fragments, half sentences and curious revelations that seem to simultaneously describe or equate to the act of writing itself, and the struggle therein. I want to use the publication as an opportunity to produce a piece of writing that is perhaps approaching an idea of practice. I am interested in recycling or reusing text fragments from existing work. I want to return to earlier writing and rescue fragments that had perhaps seemed incidental or unremarkable and collate them as a litany of reflections on writing, on writing as a practice. I am interested in the way that this format will ultimately allow me to bring fragments of ‘academic’ writing into proximity with material that is rather more personal, doubtful or which has hitherto remained hidden. I want to find a way of introducing a sense of inconsistency or contradiction or a feeling of moving between critical, philosophical or even theoretically (sounding) fragments and those which speak much more about a feeling of a love affair with the process of writing, or of the inevitable experience of failure or inability or inadequacy encountered in the process of trying to write about art practice. It is a rule based piece I suppose – the rule being (not new work) or (nothing new). I suppose the other rule I am considering is in terms of the length of the text – which is going to use the 'rule' inherent within the brief which is to produce a piece of writing with an upper limit of ‘2000 words’.

(sample excerpt below)

Re: Writing

(1) I am not sure how to begin; (2) It is certainly taking the shape of words; (3) However this is subject to revision; (4) Categories quiver at the point of collapse; (5) Trying to produce some other way of adequately describing the experience; (6) I am hesitant in speaking the words out loud; (7) Without due care things might spiral out of control; (8) She begins. The pages tremble; (9) Subject position is cast adrift; (10) Words unfurl, not knowing how they got there; (11) Uneven and discontinuous; (12) Always out of reach; (13) Full of holes; (14) A tender documentary residue; (15) Not so much a beginning then as a suture; (16) It is a liquid state or heavy like an industrial accident; (17) In which the seams remain critically visible; (18) Unassuming moments when nothing happens; (19) Breaks things down but also leaves them open; (20) Bringing into crisis, intensively, with care; (21) Within the limited constraints of a given language; (22) Things remain insensible or nameless; (23) I won’t play by their rules; (24) Pushing at the edges of one meaning whilst holding back the terms of another; (25) Worried until they begin to recombine differently; (26) In a more contingent, disruptive manner; (27) Complicate the possibility of arriving at a single answer; (28) But rather to conceive of new names; (29) By reassembling its languages into counter-narratives; (30) Always happening in the present; (31) It is impossible to ever exactly duplicate an action; (32 The discrepancy between what is visible and what is not; (33) I feel something; (34) Flutter-flutter; (35) Wanting more; (36) To feel its letters over my tongue; (37) I try to take it all in at once; (38) It is in these things that I remember; (39) I have not forgotten; (40) A graft of something already existing; (41) Meaning to try, a tentative attempt; (42) As an echo or vibration drawn and performed through the body; (43) Clandestine love affairs with another’s thoughts; (44) Once uttered they become rather hard to delete or forget; (45) Each bringing the other into being; (46) Silences that mark unexpected endings; (47) Ideas buried beneath the surface; (48) They seem to resist forming words; (49) Instead bleed across one another; (50) Contiguity is only ever a form of being in contact with; (51) Rather than unnecessary interference at its periphery; (52) Both a spatial form and a temporal event; (53) A pivot about which things turn; (54) Proposing tangents to be – both literally and literarily – followed; (55) Haunted by memories of earlier inhabitations; (56) Whether this thought can be mine alone; (57) A memorial to those unspoken; (58) By one’s own volition; (59) Like the nagging of an obsessive’s itch; (60) Intellectual holes that may well be revealed in time; (61) I feel duly torn in two; (62) Not wholly knowing how to respond; (63) It is not that easy; (64) Something has been left unsaid; (65) Sometimes a foil is needed through which to conjure reflection; (66) Language can be irredeemably imprecise; (67) In a language that cannot be read; (68) Only infrequently captures the experience of the moment; (69) I am letting you in; (70) As a process for producing tangential experiences; (71) I am willing it to happen soon; (72) An intuition for knowing when to yield; (73) Touching upon; (74) There can only be so many ways of saying the same thing; (75) Yet there is an inherent incompleteness in the task at hand; (76) Dialogue broken, a sentence stalled; (77) A speechless mode of incommunicable proximity; (78) A mode of attendance or attention; (79) The prospect of hearing me on your lips; (80) As closely as possible; (81) Logic might become frayed; (82) Thoughts well in my head, heavy and meaningless; (83) A kind of restlessness; (128) I have had such thoughts before; (84) Being struck by something; (85) In case of an emergency to let in breath; (86) A desire to avoid the temptation to simply repeat; (87) Making blind leaps into darkness; (88) Stammering in the path of understanding’s procedural flight; (89) Resilient sites of criticality; (90) That emerge simultaneously; (91) An action is required; (92) Proximity to the work does not guarantee any certainty or assuredness; (93) Conditions; (94) Refusing to play by the terms of existing power relations; (1) The cycle of iteration begins again once more; (95) The notion of the telos is often rejected or sabotaged; (96) Beyond words as such; (97) Without obligation; (98) The continual reconfiguration of the rules of engagement; (99) Between producing illumination and further opacity; (100) Before other meanings have begun to fully form

As part of the project we have responded to the abstract's of each other ... here is an excerpt from the response to my work from Nathan Walker :

"Into Suspension. Re guarding. Guarding. Taking all that stuff and re-cognising it. Because there is so much writing in the world the job is not to make more but to construct new texts out of the ones that already exist. This is working clever. Emma is removing the specificity and allowing for a kind of openness. In context. Emma is not producing academic writing. This is practice. This material is different material. Like instead of a new quilt we have a patchwork. Instead of starting again Emma is sifting, dealing (like we deal with cards) with the writing stuff. Emma is interested in plagiarism. The thief. Les Voleurs. Stealing your own work and writing into it. Saying things without knowing what your saying. Arrows. Indexically. Storage space. Holding space. Writing about one thing and it really is writing about an other thing. The stuff behind the words. The reclamation of recycled materials that perform the space of writing. This is about the process of writing itself. The struggle within the labor of practice. The hesitation, the deliberation of practice. The fragile moments of writing. Foil the goal. No goal. Own Goal. Re-Writing. Re(ally)Writing"