Tentacular Project by Krystle Patel, Orsola Zane & Mariette Moor considering the octopus as machine and method.


As Small As Eyes

We find ourselves now in a world that struggles to reconcile the societal push towards hyper-individualism and the celebration of the Ego with the fact that there are now 8 billion of us, a number bound to squash any hope for individuality. In response to this and other concerns, many artists are addressing what it means to be, and to be in the world, by filtering their experience through new technological perspectives such as AI. Instead of going outwards and forwards, towards universality and humanity at large, As Small As Eyes goes inwards and backwards, reconsidering the very mechanisms through which we function as humans and putting them into question. We are looking at the concepts of consciousness, of feeling and communication through an entirely alien perspective, that of the octopus.

Due to our most recent common ancestor dating back 600 million years, they are, relative to humans, the closest being on earth to an alien. Their physical properties like elasticity, camouflage and regrowth unsettle neat categorisations that we take for granted. The octopus is a creature torn between one and many, whose shape and colour-shifting body resists identification. One whose ways of communicating, moving, hunting, mothering etc. are so radically different from ours that they require a whole new system of symbols, signs and imagery to approach them.

This blurring of lines between individual and collective is reflected in the way that the three of us are working together, at once combining our practices and carrying on our individual research in a tentacular manner. But our approach to the octopus method cannot be but tentative, at times clumsy, paradoxical. Our research lies in that undefined area of tension between being man and being octopus, being human or alien, being defined or undefinable. Thinking and perceiving (often unsuccessfully) as the octopus and through the octopus allows us to rethink the way our bodies and interactions work as humans, and with this our failure to escape ourselves.


As Small As Eyes @ Bloc Projects, Sheffield, 2024

This exhibition will present a large-scale kinetic sculpture, video works and collage that invite the audience to explore and push the boundaries between self and other, proposing the self as a type of other.


Group Residency at Penare House, Cornwall, 2022