Tag Archives: Ficus Interfaith

Frame House Whereabouts

Ficus Interfaith
Frame House Whereabouts

September 14 – October 21, 2018

Interstate Projects
Opening Reception September 14, 6-9pm

 

 

The word ‘building’ is both a noun and a verb: the structure itself and the act of making it. As a noun, a building is shelter that has a roof, walls and stands more or less permanently in one place.

Ancient households layered sand to cover compacted earth; creating a warm, soft covering that could be replaced regularly. In some dwellings, seed shells such as peanut and sunflower were scattered across the floor. As it was walked on, the oil from the shells would coat the occupants’ feet and become spread out across the ground, hardening its surface while making it more compact, stable, and free of dust.

Archaeologists use the term, terrazzo, to describe some of the floors created over 10,000 years ago in Neolithic settlements across Western Asia. Excavation notes illustrate beautiful, dusty pads of mottled stone chips pressed and polished into patterns in the ground. This practice continued through antiquity as marble artisans fashioned the floors of their own homes with the leftover marble tile scraps from the days’ work. Today, many of the aggregates used in terrazzo are pulled from the industrial waste-stream, continuing its history of reuse in construction.

For this exhibition, Ficus Interfaith presents a series of terrazzo frames. These frames, along with an additional suite of sculptures, describe navigating a house. The works occupy two floors, vibrating between the distinctions of display room and domestic space. Windows and doors operate as metaphors for other worlds, portals with the potential to activate your imagination. Embracing the spirit of collaboration and highlighting the pragmatism of reuse, the sculptures invite all to ‘play house’. The gallery acts as a skeleton with borrowed flesh, the unlived foundation of a more complete and separately constructed space.


Ficus Interfaith
 (is a collaboration between Ryan Bush (b. 1990, Denver CO) and Raphael Cohen (b. 1989, New York, NY). As much a research initiative as a sculptural practice, Ficus Interfaith pursues projects that focus on their personal and collective interactions with nature and natural history. Their work has been exhibited at Prairie (Chicago, IL), Alyssa Davis (NYC), MX Gallery (NYC) and Gern en Regalia (NYC) and they were artists in residence this year at 2727 California Street (Berkeley, CA) and Shandaken: Storm King (NY).

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http://www.interstateprojects.org/index.php?/ficus-interfaith/

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Clay Club

Projects by artists Alisa Baremboymektor garciaFicus InterfaithSteffani JemisonSara Magenheimer, and Jesse Wine & Cassie Griffin.

Clay Club 2018 Playlists by AHMDLizzi Bougatsos, and Diamond Stingily.

SculptureCenter was founded as Clay Club in 1928 by sculptor Dorothea Denslow. While Clay Club’s art courses and exhibitions generally took place in Denslow’s Brooklyn studio, or, slightly later, in a carriage house on West 8th Street, the organization’s artists and students gathered on Staten Island every summer from 1928 to 1939 to picnic and collectively build temporary monumental sculptures out of natural clay.

On Saturday, August 18, SculptureCenter will revive its founding summer tradition by inviting six artists to reconsider the idea of group sculpture that motivated the original Clay Club parties. SculptureCenter’s Long Island City exhibition space will open to the public with more than two thousand pounds of clay available for participation in artist-led projects or for free use.

Join us on Saturday, August 18 from 10am to 2pm, for music, food and drinks by local vendors including Hibino LIC, Levante, and The Mill, and drop-in art projects. This program is free, open to the public, and for all ages. No RSVP is required.

Dance of the Mudmixers
Compilation of 16mm archival footage of Clay Club’s summer picnic on Staten Island

This is SculptureCenter’s second annual Clay Club program. Last year’s Clay Club artists were Christian Holstad, Joanna Malinowska, Kate Newby, Hayley Silverman and Ser Serpas, Agathe Snow, and Patrice Renee Washington, with music by SHYBOI (KUNQ/DISCWOMAN).

 

 

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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

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.

 

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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 inparadi.se (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

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‘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

http://inparadi.se/agardenenclosedafountainsealed

 

 

Ferrocement Umbrella
2017

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Honey Sand Box
2017
40°42’39.3″N 73°55’23.9″W

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Newtown Orange Box
2017
40°43’12.2″N 73°55’24.7″W

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Kansas Cup Box
2017
38°49’47.5″N 100°48’27.1″W

 

 

#NoSchool with Arts In Parts & theperfectnothingcatalog

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Ferrocement Birdbath

Ficus Interfaith

#NoSchool with Arts In Parts & theperfectnothingcatalog

Clay Club at Sculpture Center

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Dangerous Together

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

BB5000
Dorota Gaweda & Egle Kulbokaite
Ficus Interfaith R+ P
Institute of Queer Ecology
KERNEL
Loney Abrams + Johnny Stannish
Sorbus

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

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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.”

Prairie:

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?

Prairie:

Yeah love that.

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

 

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Progress Beyond Reason

­­MX Gallery
169 Canal St, 5th floor

“Progress Beyond Reason”

Thomas Laprade/Aaron Lehman
Ficus Interfaith

 

We’ve always made sure to tell and retell the story of darkness and light.  And just as our ancestors danced to the songs of their ancestors, they always remembered to teach the steps to their young.  Juking became jerking and Egyptian hieroglyphs found their way into gay ballroom dances uptown.  The things the dead made and left behind were poignant too, especially when we could run fingers along the cracks that bore witness to their stories– as if we needed proof that time passed before we became lucky enough to sit up and watch it tick.

These rituals of making, sharing, and conserving guarantee that beliefs and values endure from one generation to the next.  Ritual, above all, functions to preserve social memory by connecting an individual to a shared, cultural history.  Dapping it up in the local fashion feels especially good when it’s as physical (with your arms around another body) as it is transcendentally shared. Ritual becomes the performance of history and our performance of ritual is the medium by which history thrusts forward and gives life meaning.

In pre-modern society this meaning of life was given at the beginning, and this meaning was immanent in all the ordinary customs and practices of daily life.  The beat of the drum told the feet exactly how they should move- and that alone was worth reproducing to keep the world going around.  In modern society, however, meaning is not given at the beginning of life– meaning is to be sought, discovered, acquired, and often discarded and re-rediscovered.  Suddenly it was no longer enough to make the world go around but necessary that it also move forward.

So the idea of progress and the need for perpetual improvement became held in the highest regard in the new world. A society, a life, or an action that did not show progress came to seem meaningless, and, in turn, ritual stood on the other side of a Great Divide.  It became tantamount to a blind faith in the past.  Ritual, as opposed to reason, became barbarism and idolatry that could only impede the path to a bright and rational future.

Some, equipped with instruments for measuring and fine-tuning, went about banishing the sprites and gargoyles that lived in the dark corners of the imagination.  They replaced them with methods of categorization and confinement, and even applied these ideas to people.  They claimed ornament was the mark of the savage and renovated temples to humiliate monks with simple reason and logic.  Others, erecting towers of mullioned glass and rectangular greys, said ritual was the insidious tool of authority used to stratify and take advantage of the aspirational poor. Ritual became our bogeyman, no longer a boon but a blight on progress.

Progress was to be social, scientific, liberal, constant, faster, constant, better, constant… until we found ourselves moving again to the beat of that ancient drum.  These activities, held to the metric of seemingly quantifiable progress and perpetual improvement became the new customs and practices of every day life–the modern ritual.

Yet all those cancerous qualities we feared about ritual– the blind faith and idolatry– were only in remission.  Aided by technology, these symbols of progress reproduced and hurdled through our psyches so fast that they became empty shells of what they once stood for. A dangerously ritualistic faith in progress emerged; the idea of a better future hijacked by eco-conscious marketing ploys, protestors at rallies in search of social currency, aerodynamic razors with embossed speed stripes for hairless bodies.  Futurism in this sense became reduced to a hyperbole of a wasteful and indulgent present; one that carrot-sticks us into the future while leaving us too tranquilized to really feel, think, or act in the moment.

We see this trickery most clearly in the technologies and materials that literally form the foundation of our culture. Perhaps the enabling feature of the Roman Empire’s sprawl was their use of concrete— they were the envy of the western world for the speed of their megalithic construction. Domes, aqueducts, and arches were poured rather than painstakingly pieced together. The imperfect predecessor of this technology was clay and the inheritors of its successes were plastics, rubber, terrazzo, and today the infinitely variable rendered image. What each of these technologies enable and share is their plasticity and offer of unlimited new forms. A poured concrete façade of a neoclassical building does not rely on wooden beams, columns of fluted reeds, and pegs that tie columns to architrave, and yet all those features are visible because they were the original construction techniques of Greek temples. While plastic materials like concrete offer vast potential for new forms, we continue to imbue them with the symbols of the past. We see in these technologies a preservation of image, appearance, and ritual while materiality drops away. This culminates in the rendered image, an image literally without matter. We live in homes with hollow Ikea furniture.

The fact of how we preserve our past when given so much technological potential for newness suggests that we can’t escape our history, but maybe there is potential within it for liberation.  If ritual is the practice of history then it must be a history for life. Not an idea of history that is only a scientific recording of facts, or limited by nostalgia and a blind recreation of past styles, but a practice that empowers an imagination aimed at the horizon. Today it’s possible to hear the ancient drum and, rather than be captive to it, have the ability to decide how the feet should move.

“Progress Beyond Reason”, featuring Thomas Laprade/Aaron Lehman and Ficus Interfaith, will run through July 4. Gallery hours are by appointment. To make an appointment please contact 773-490-0191 or 203-321-3701, or email info@mxgallery@gmail.com

 

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