Eight flailing arms that hold enough brain power to make their own decisions, and certainly to command their own movements; a slimy, stretchy skin; no bones to inhibit movements; black ink to cloud herself. Octopuses couldn’t possibly be farther away from our own bodily and mental experiences. Yet the research on the life functions in Vampyrotheutis Infernalis of Vilem Flusser and Louis Bec let them argue, that octopoda mirror the cultural life of humans.
Anne Weyler created an experimental setup to enter and inhabit this bodily experience, an experiment of bodily metamorphosis into the octopus-self. Different materials and textures, from fruits and colored mucus to diluted food coloring, reenact the sensory touch of the octopus world. Within this environment, she explores body images through body techniques that allow her to exceed usual forms of behavior and trigger unexpected experiences between body and space. Sensitively and associatively reacting to its environment, the body is taken out of its known orientation by tracing the octopodal movements.
Decoupling the body from the traditional views of occidental society, Weyler becomes a thought experiment that deconstructs the traditional intellectual history of the West. How much does this allow us to displace our own sense of world, being and environment, and slide into the octopus’ being? What experiences of the self and space affords such metamorphosis in bodily movement and sensation? What mental spaces are opened up through such bodily experience? Is moving like an octopus, being like an octopus?