This is an outdated version published on 2023-03-01. Read the most recent version.

Sexual display from the abyss: Octopuses between heteronormativity and exorbitance


  • Benedetta Panison



This paper focuses on a footage recorded in 1993 by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution at 2500m depth. It is the first visual experience of sexual activity between abyssal octopuses in their oceanic habitat: they are two males of two different species. This paper aims to analyze the gendered, affective, and moral structures that have produced texts and voice-offs in relation to this visuality, letting emerge how a transcultural, feminist, queer, and artistic gaze can lead to a reparative stance, beyond a replicated heteronormativity perceived as threatening, towards a more relaxed intimacy with animal sexualities, including a hybrid sense of eroticism that accompanies the human attraction for visual sexualities.


Download data is not yet available.



2023-02-28 — Updated on 2023-03-01