catalogue•Priscilla, or Falling in Love with Liquid Eel
Priscilla, or Falling in Love with Liquid Eel
by Sasha Fishman
Hagfish are jawless deep sea eels that excrete slime as a defense mechanism. It is said that a hagfish can fill a five-gallon bucket with slime in minutes. Sasha became interested in hagfish because their slime contains fibers that have potential uses in biomaterials.
In 2020, Sasha raised five hagfish for six months in her East LA studio with the intention of cultivating their slime fibers to use as reinforcement for biomaterials — however, she quickly fell in love with the hagfish and, not wanting to stress them, was unable to slime them.
Sadly, after six months, the hagfish began to decline. Two passed away and the others Sasha released, giving them to a local lab. Feeling that she still needed to be with the hagfish, Sasha preserved one of the deceased through freeze drying, and the other deceased lives on through its skin, tanned in egg yolk. Sasha continues to research the cause of their death as it relates to the environment and time.
This book contains essays, photographs, and debris from Sasha's experience caring for the hagfish, how clear materiality led her to them, and the ethical dilemmas that arose as she developed a relationship with them.
Each copy contains samples of chitosan bioplastic and parafilm. Each spiral glows in the dark.