There is the ancient, religious idea that man is the unhappy combination of beast and god: if only we were divine, we would be liberated, immortal spirit; if only we were beast, we could be content in our instinctive ignorance’ (Thomas Stern, ’The Human and the Octopus’). The Ephemeral Life of an Octopus is absurd and grotesque, playful and liberating. It questions the strangeness of having a body: healthy and vigorous, suffering and damaged, punctured and probed, wild and animalistic. The piece is inspired by studies of the evolution of cancer cells and the lived experience of illness. At once scientific, philosophical and visceral, the piece looks at the dysfunction, chaos and vibrant life force of the body from within and without.
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