Metis in Modern Times.


My daughter called me last night during her one-hour drive to class for her PhD. She was presenting a piece on “metis”. It was a new word for me, so I found that brilliant bird by Bouvette, who happens to be a Metis Indian. I have no idea what the connection is between tribe and concept. I do know this artist is brilliant: 

Here is the word as it was being used in my daughter’s class. Cunning intelligence, often in service of revolution:

In the intellectual world of the Greek philosopher, there was a radical dichotomy between being and becoming, between the intelligible and the sensible. On the one hand there is the sphere of being, of the one, the unchanging, of the limited, of true and definite knowledge; on the other hand, the sphere of becoming, of the multiple, the unstable and the unlimited, of oblique and changeable opinion. Metis is characterised by the way it operates by continuously oscillating between the two opposite poles. Within a changing reality with limitless possibilities, a person with metis can achieve.

So metis is a type if intelligence and of thought, a way of knowing; it implies a complex but coherent body of mental attitudes and intellectual behaviour which combine flair, forethought, resourcefulness, vigilance, pragmatism, opportunism and the wisdom of experience.

When art and science unite, extra possibilities and opportunities are made resulting in innovation that can be driven by creativity. Metis is about finding elegant solutions to difficult problems instead of relying on brute force.

I adore my new word, don’t you? Just in case you are not totally enraptured yet, check out the synchroncity between Aquaman’s Hemoglobin Pony and this:


Artist Patsy Payne will take you on a guided tour of her innards, the first time a living artist has ever explored her own “inner space” using cutting-edge medical imaging technology. Patsy Payne’s work Hypochondria takes you right inside the artist, literally,” says metis co-ordinator Rebecca Scott, of CSIRO. “She used positron electron tomography, or PET scans, to image slices of her own body and recreate the first-ever internal self-portrait by a living artist.”

Wow. Patsy Payne photographed portraits of her guts. She did it almost ten years ago, and yet I found it just now when studying Metis. My personal universe is born anew each day.

Cunning revolutionary intelligence for the win, especially when it shares a name with a tribe of Native Americans.



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