Category Archives: exhibitions

Summer Terrazzos

summer_terrazzossummer_terrazzos_tavasummer_terrazzostavadetailsummer_terrazzos_detailsummer terrazzzo 4clover at nightIMG_9685webIMG_9661webIMG_9643webIMG_9620webIMG_9696webIMG_9709webIMG_9644webIMG_9647webIMG_9612webIMG_9701webIMG_9663webIMG_9616webIMG_9690webIMG_9634webIMG_9618webIMG_9693webIMG_9652webIMG_9640web‘Summer Terrazzos’

Ficus Interfaith

July 14, 2018 – August 26, 2018


Prairie is pleased to announce ‘Summer Terrazzos’ a solo presentation from Ficus Interfaith opening Saturday July 14 from 7-10pm. The exhibition runs from July 14 – August 26, 2018.




While humans are similar to other animals, sharing 98.5 percent of our DNA with chimpanzees for example, our species is undoubtedly different. Over the last few months we have created six terrazzo compositions using various stone, glass and plastic aggregates. As part of an ongoing terrazzo project, these works explore the ways humans have attempted to locate themselves in nature, i.e., a comparison with the things most similar to ourselves.

A key characteristic that appears to set us apart as human is that we can think about alternative futures and make deliberate choices accordingly. When a hurricane is approaching, we use systems of language and technology to warn each other. Special computers measure changes in the wind, sirens sound, and vehicles carry us to safer places. We can imagine what might happen and then act appropriately to ultimately preserve our species. Although the topic is still under debate, other animals are also able to predict an impending hurricane. Research shows that birds can sense environmental changes such as drops in barometric pressure and infrasound waves. In response, as storms approach they will often land to wait for it to pass. Similarly, sharks and large fish will swim out to deeper water and land animals will move to higher ground. How do these creatures know what to do and what actions to take to bolster their chances of survival?

In ways that we do not fully understand, animals are sensitive to the most minute shifts in the environment. They use this vigilance to navigate the world in the same way humans use technology, however because we are unable to imagine the mental levels at which animals operate, we repeatedly deny them the forms of agency we take for granted in ourselves. Birds did not discover flight as humans did; flight discovered birds. In this way, our humanness is blinding and can become very lonely. We feel disconnected from every other animal, and project our emotions and ideas onto them and onto the environment we share. It is comforting to describe a dog “acting joyful” or to witness a chimpanzee “having a tantrum” and Pooh Bear would not look as cute without his red T-shirt. The queen ant and her slaves, the man in the moon, the mouth of a river and the eye of a storm are also examples of the anthropomorphism that tries to shape nature into a reflection of our species.

Recently, humans have gone so far as to name each and every hurricane. For several hundred years after the Europeans arrived many hurricanes in the West Indies were named after the particular saint’s day on which the hurricane occurred. For example, there was “Hurricane Santa Ana” which struck Puerto Rico on July 26, 1825, and “San Felipe ” and “San Felipe II” which hit Puerto Rico on September 13 in both 1876 and 1928. More recently, the United States began using female names for storms, after abandoning a confusing two-year old plan in 1953 to name storms using a phonetic alphabet (Able, Baker, Charlie) when a new international phonetic alphabet was introduced.  The practice of naming hurricanes solely after women came to an end in 1978 when men’s and women’s names were included in the Eastern North Pacific storm lists.

Today, the World Meteorological Organization has a strict procedure for naming these storms. For Atlantic hurricanes, there is a list of male and female names which are used on a six-year rotation. The only time that there is a change is if a storm is so deadly or costly that using the name again would be inappropriate. In the event that more than twenty-one named tropical cyclones occur in a season, any additional storms will take names from the Greek alphabet.

We are unaware of any systems of naming that animals may have for storms. Many animals use complex and varied vocal patterns to describe changes in their environment but are limited with their episodic memory and mental time travel capabilities. However, there is strong evidence that dolphins name themselves with signature whistles and gorillas that have been taught sign language appear to understand names and ask for other animals and keepers by their name. In the attempt to understand animal behavior human-like comparisons can be useful, harmful, or both if the results serve only the interests of humans.

Dutch primatologist and ethologist Frans de Waal argues, “To rail against anthropomorphism for the sake of scientific objectivity often hides a pre-Darwinian mindset, one uncomfortable with the notion of humans as animals. When we are considering species like the apes, which are aptly known as “anthropoids” (humanlike), however, anthropomorphism is in fact a logical choice. Dubbing an ape’s kiss “mouth-to-mouth contact” so as to avoid anthropomorphism deliberately obfuscates the meaning of the behavior. It would be like assigning Earth’s gravity a different name than the moon’s, just because we think Earth is special.” But the Earth is special in that it’s the only planet we know of that holds life – animal and human.  

Western religious ideas describe humans and animals as products of intentional divine creation, with humans uniquely formed in the likeness of their deity and thus enjoying a privileged role in the intended workings of the cosmos — including, for example, access to an afterlife.  A modern biological view of the world, however, supports the idea that our species as we know it emerged a few hundred thousand years ago, and that we are are only one species of animal among many — one leaf of one branch of the phylogenetic tree of life and enjoy no particular special status. If or when we (hopefully!) make contact with extraterrestrial life, how human will we feel? Will we feel more or less connected?


Ficus Interfaith



At the End of the Game You Will Be Forgotten 

Organized by (Amelia Farley and Henry Osman)

Alyssa Davis Gallery

April 19, 2018 – May 20, 2018

André Filipek, Bea Fremderman, Georgia Horgan, Ficus Interfaith, Isabelle Frances McGuire, Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw, Fin Simonetti, Loney Abrams & Johnny Stanish,


Consider a digsite. Digging is always a vertical movement, down into the archaeological matrix. Each layer, defined as a unit of sedimentation greater than one centimeter thick, is separated from previous layers by an event. A fire, a flood. These intervals are discrete changes in the character of the material being deposited.

Esther Leslie argues that excavation is an ‘inverted’ astrology. “Astrologers study the forces and influences of the stars,” she writes, while excavators discover “the manifold properties of earth and stone strata.” Geology is regarded as nature’s writing, a cipher language. “The language of our world is reflected in the underworld, if subject to decoding.” 1

What time is it?

All possible histories are encoded in the strata. A temple column supports a basilica’s nave; broken palaces find their way into household walls. A fine intaglio is encrusted with black accretions and dusted with so many layers of silt and sand that it becomes a pebble. At the digsite, such actors, both artifactual and ecofactual, must be coaxed into speaking.

The thickness of an event, and the earth in which it is held; an open shaft; the patina of an old chair; the carbon cycle. Nothing is new, and nothing is not new.

1. Leslie, Esther. Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry. London: Reaktion Books/Univ. Chicago Press, 2007. 38-39.


Alyssa-Davis-Paradise-21-1250x938Ficus Interfaith, Redwood at Night (title by Frank Traynor), 2018

Alyssa-Davis-Paradise-22-1250x938 Alyssa-Davis-Paradise-20-1250x938-1 Alyssa-Davis-Paradise-01-1250x938  Alyssa-Davis-Paradise-02-1250x938

Flower Bat Mullion



Over 500 plant species rely on bats to pollinate their flowers, including species of mango, banana, cocoa, durian, guava and agave (used to make tequila). So, next time you eat some chocolate, say thanks to the bats! The pollination of plants by bats is called chiroterophily.



2727 California Street


TERRAZZO WORKSHOP with 2727 California Street & theperfectnothingcatalog





‘A Garden Enclosed, A Fountain Sealed’

“A Garden Enclosed, A Fountain Sealed’

An online exhibition featuring Audrey Hope, Ficus Interfaith, Tommy Krek Sveningsson, Dennis Witkin



Ferrocement Umbrella


Honey Sand Box
40°42’39.3″N 73°55’23.9″W


Newtown Orange Box
40°43’12.2″N 73°55’24.7″W


Kansas Cup Box
38°49’47.5″N 100°48’27.1″W



Clay Club at Sculpture Center


The Earth is a Trampled Garden

The Earth is A Trampled Garden
Bea Fremderman, Ficus Interfaith, and Laurie Kang
Organized by Bryce Grates

Brooklyn, NY


(Hu)Man is perpetually erasing existing bonds with nature in exchange for a reality that they have erected. This new reality can be viewed as a “second nature”. We are societally intertwined with this overdetermined second nature, and have pushed the antiquated “first nature” further and further away from us, into a space that only exists within the experience economy. This comes in the form of nature preserves, zoos, artificially-designed parks established in the midst of cities, and so forth. Much like art, we now experience and view nature as a preserved object, or entertainment. We see it as a reproduction of something that once was, which is now just an optimized system composed and funded through a capitalistic agenda.

The Earth is a Trampled Garden aims to bring together artists who move in the direction of a perhaps fictional, or not-yet-tapped, “third nature”. Handmade objects using seeds, plants, naturally occurring chemical reactions, et al., they provide a new take on the ways that natural materials can be considered and reconstructed for an audience.



Dangerous Together

19222968_1679675195379899_6273899256783872462_oDANGEROUS TOGETHER, co-curated by Prairie and Micah Schippa, presents:

Dorota Gaweda & Egle Kulbokaite
Ficus Interfaith R+ P
Institute of Queer Ecology
Loney Abrams + Johnny Stannish

Opening June 23rd from 7-10pm. Show runs June 23rd – July 30th 2017.


Micah Schippa:

Here let me send you what I have

Guillaume says “the critical potential of collaboration has to be problematized in relation with the question of authorship, as the latter holds a prominent place in modern academic self-image and systems of valorization. Thus, authorship is central to understanding how collaboration can provide a critical pathway to the production of knowledge. To be successful, collaboration needs to steer participants away from an intellectual state of idleness, where the effects of one’s social, historical, institutional, ideological, gendered and cultural situatedness are ‘in an unthought stage’ (Bourdieu 1994: 217). To this purpose, collaboration can offer a networked and dynamic collaborative environment within and through which ideas are critically fostered and engaged with, but also an epistemic frame where the notion of individual(ist) production is not necessarily celebrated as a competitive feature of contemporary academia, but re-situated in the dialogical dynamics of knowledge production, management and valorization.”


I like that

Did you see what I posted in the doc?

More-so related to ecology than collaboration, this excerpt from the introduction to Jason W. Moore’s “Capitalism in the Web of Life” offers a nice, brief analysis of how early human life developed symbiotically with the environment:

“When geographers say space, may we not also say nature? All social relations are spatial relations, relations within the web if life. Socio-spatial relations develop through nature. All species “build” environments – they are “ecosystem engineers.” But some engineers are more powerful than others. Humans have been especially powerful. This is not simply because of thought and language – which are of course central – but also because hominid evolution favored distinctive extroversions: a smaller digestive system and the use of fire as an external stomach; a narrower birth canal and community as external womb; less hair and the production of clothes as external fur. That list could be extended. The point is to highlight the ways in which evolutionary processes were powerfully co-produced: humanity is a species-environment relation.”

Can we think of a way in which to address both the collaboration happening between members of these artist collectives and the material/natural “collaboration” these groups are engaged with?

Micah Schippa:

Omg i looooooove this

It breaks the naturalized, solipsistic idea of capitalist development. Like, competition as a species-eat-species, top down effect is a matter of the way we perceive time at a small scale. We are engineers in a world of engineers, a world which itself is an engineer. But not so technically; more ambiently.

I like the way these two texts of ours breathe back and forth.

Omg wait should we just use this for the press release?


Yeah love that.

Haha, are these two texts dangerous together??! 😀