Silverfish is a collective based in Tkaronto/Toronto, focused on cultivating sustained dialogue between contemporary artists and writers. Our publication and workshop program prioritize interdisciplinary collaboration, experimentation, and process, working within a framework of relational, non-institutional pedagogy. Silverfish is a proponent of organic, scattered, and occasional publishing. On an annual-ish basis, we organize a workshop program rooted in peer-based skill sharing in which emerging artists and writers collaborate to reflect on pressing themes and critical discourses within contemporary art and culture. The workshop program culminates in the publication of our print and digital periodical, which features experimental and expansive approaches to artistic practice and art writing. We are committed to providing a unique platform and paid opportunities for emerging artists and writers, and prioritize creating opportunities for those within 2SLGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities.
Silverfish is made possible through a network of people working in dialogue and collaboration. Our editorial team includes Dallas Fellini, mg hamilton, Sameen Mahboubi, and B Wijshijer. Our collaborators, who have sustained and informed our workshops, exhibitions, and publication, have included Benjamin de Boer, MLA Chernoff, Anna Daliza, Irum, Jessica Kasiama, Hailey Kobrin, Joe Konieczny, Alex Lepianka, Max Lester, Miao Liu, Rowan Lynch, Philip Ocampo, Cason Sharpe, Saysah Yoroonatii, and Lina Wu.
Silverfish acknowledges that our work takes place in Tkaronto on the traditional and historical territory of the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabeg, the Huron-Wendat, and most recently the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Tkaronto is home to many First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples gathered on Dish With One Spoon territory, a wampum agreement created by the Indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes. The Dish With One Spoon agreement signifies that we respectfully share this land, as we eat from the same dish with one spoon. We acknowledge that this treaty has been broken by the violence of settler-colonialism and that the land we operate on in Tkaronto was stolen in an act now called the “Toronto Purchase.” As we gather together on Dish With One Spoon territory, we ask then, how do we repair our relationship to each other and to the land? How do we gather and share knowledge on this land within legacies of violence and broken treaties?
Silverfish’s commitment to an anti-oppressive and equitable framework includes acknowledging the colonial history and ongoing colonial violence of the land on which we gather. We agree to create community agreements in each iteration of our workshop series, to remind us of our duty to repair relations to each other and to the land we occupy. We are committed to transparency in our decision making processes, and agree to publish and update our mandate, manifesto, and operational information on our website on an ongoing basis. We are committed to including 2SLGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices in our publication and workshop program by enacting equitable selection practices.
We wish to acknowledge that as a publication that disseminates art and writing, both in print and online, our platform reaches territories across Turtle Island and beyond. We encourage fellow settlers accessing our platform to consider their relationship to the lands they occupy. Where do you seek nourishment and opportunity? Who are the original owners and custodians of that land? What other lands have nourished you in your life? How do you enact gratitude to land and to Indigenous communities? How do we enact harm-reduction, long-term sustenance, and nourishment together?
Silverfish is fun. Silverfish is sexy. Silverfish wants to know more about you.
Silverfish is the potential of collectivity when we divest from institutional convention. Silverfish challenges how we make art together, write together, talk together, within the form of “interdisciplinary” “print” “publication” “curated” by some mother fuckers. We’ll write the grant, you make the art. We’ll organize the reading group, you read in opposition to the text. We’ll design the publication, you share it, burn it, rip it, eat it, store it in the office supplies cupboard where the silverfish get the best of it.
Silverfish are insects that represent a failure to keep an office clean, to keep archival materials preserved, and to keep work moving quickly. Silverfish eat the massive accumulations of paperwork that define the processes of business, work, administration, life. Silverfish eat away the foundation of work, they eat the archive, and they are everywhere, they keep coming back. What can we learn from the silverfish’s relentless desire to eat away at, to eat up, to eat through the material record? Silverfish is about dissolving with saliva the foundation of institutional art practices. Silverfish takes back time that’s been eaten up by administrative processes and accumulations of paperwork.
Silverfish proposes swallowing as a critical practice. Swallowing is sexy and doesn’t care about work. Silverfish swallows the “interdisciplinary” “print” “publication,” tears it apart with our little bug teeth, and shits out a paper mache ball. Silverfish is potentiality, collectivity, and critical fun.
Silverfish contradicts its own printed form. What still urgently needs to be printed? We hope the connections made through Silverfish transcend our paper form. We want to eat together: eat away at structures of institution and transaction, and rectify the loss of life that has been eaten up by work! We want to get indigestion together, if indigestion means we get to have fun together.
silverfish ruin business
silverfish hide in the cupboard with your office supplies
silverfish love that you feed them
silverfish find you again after you thought they were gone
silverfish want tea when it’s cold out
silverfish find you wherever you go
silverfish eat your clients
silverfish don’t care about net worth
silverfish live inside the box with the home pregnancy test at the back of your bathroom drawer
silverfish were here the whole time
silverfish care about climate change
silverfish use they/them pronouns
silverfish cannot be eaten
silverfish are ruining your business right now