Silverfish is a publication and workshop program focused on cultivating ongoing dialogues between emerging contemporary artists and writers based in Tkaronto/Toronto. Silverfish publishes experimental and expansive approaches to art and art writing through thematic assemblages of texts and artworks. We pair emerging artists and writers to reflect on pressing themes and critical discourses within contemporary art and culture. Silverfish fulfils a necessary niche, offering space for ongoing collaborations between emerging artists and writers that centre community building and skill sharing. We’re committed to providing a unique platform and paid opportunities for emerging artists and writers, particularly for those within the 2SLGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities.
The Silverfish committee acknowledges that our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabeg, the Huron-Wendat, the Chippewa, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations in Tkaronto. Tkaronto is home to many First Nations, Inuit, and Metis 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. 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 Magazine’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 both a print and digital publication, our platform reaches many territories across Turtle Island and beyond. We encourage settlers accessing our platform to consider their relationship to the lands on which they live and work. 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 the principles of harm-reduction, long term sustenance, and nourishment together?
Silverfish is fun. Silverfish wants to know more about you. Silverfish is the potential of collectivity when we divest from artistic institutional conventions. Silverfish challenges how we make art together, write together, talk together, within the commonly known form of an “interdisciplinary” “print” “publication” “curated by” some mother fuckers. We’ll write the grant, you make the art. We’ll organize the reading group, you make the reading list. We’ll design the publication, you disseminate it, burn it, rip it, eat it, store in the office supplies cupboard where silverfish will get the best of it one day.
Silverfish are insects that represent a failure to keep an office clean, to keep archival materials preserved and keep work moving quickly. Silverfish live in the back of the office supplies cupboard. Silverfish eat the massive accumulations of paperwork that define the processes of business, of work, of life. Silverfish eat away at the foundation of work, at the archive of work, and they are everywhere, they keep coming back, they keep eating. 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 eating away at the foundation of institutional art practices to redefine what it means to “work” together. Silverfish is about taking back time that’s been eaten up by bureaucratic processes and accumulations of paperwork.
Silverfish proposes swallowing as a critical practice. Swallowing is sexy and it doesn’t care about work. Silverfish swallows the “interdisciplinary” “print” “publication,” tears it apart with our tiny little bug teeth, and shits out a paper mache ball. Silverfish pairs artists and writers to collaborate in the pages of our publication in an attempt to forge long term collaborations, dialogues, and communities in a city burdened by the gig economy, “every man for himself,” scarcity of paid jobs and affordable housing, and mayor John Tory. Our paper mache turd is a ball of potentiality, new 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 facilitation that feel transactional, and rectify the loss of time that has been eaten up by work! We want to get indigestion together, if indigestion means a symbiogenesis where we get to have fun together.
silverfish ruin business
silverfish hide in 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 live in your dresser
silverfish find you wherever you go
silverfish eat your most important clients
silverfish don’t care about net worth
silverfish sit courtside at the basketball game when no one is watching
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 eating your paper right now
silverfish are ruining your business