The Octopus is a symbol of the concept ‘metis’ which is an ancient Greek term that describes a particular mode of being: ‘cunning intelligence’. It is the Octopus who is the creature most endowed with metis – a creature who comes to represent the essence of this way of being . Metis as a way of thinking and working and being belongs to the duplicitous world of traps and devices: the knot, the net, the weave, the rope, the mesh, the bait, the noose and the snare. Metis pertains to all that is pliable, slippery and twisted, oblique, elusive and ambiguous, and it moves in more than one direction simultaneously. Metis, is a transformative action that undermines power relations but does not keep what it wins, because the desire of this mode of action is for the process and not the end. It is not interested in replacing one form of power or domination with another but is instead intent on disrupting and transforming that power dynamic into something else. Metis is a type of cunning that is always on the move and by its nature, is resistant to being co-opted in service of notions of possession, ownership, legitimacy or sovereignty. Metis is a mode of being that desires to release the spontaneous, unexpected, dazzling or shocking elements or moments that emerge from the seemingly mundane of the everyday. Metis produces happenings that cannot be fixed or defined.  Metis is a mode of practice or action without origin – no single subject is its cause or reason – rather its movement emerges from the multiple and the heterogeneous. It is the ambition of the Oktopus Collective to have metis as our mode of working and thinking and collaborating.

 

For a link to Amber Jacobs work on the concept of Meits where you can read more about its origin in philosophy and its contemporary relevance :

http://www.mamsie.bbk.ac.uk/articles/abstract/10.16995/sim.93/