Farid Rakun, Indonesia

Residency Period: 1 November 2013 - 30 June 2014 (withdrew as of April 29, 2014)


Taking more than ten years to finish his formal education (BArch, University of Indonesia, 2005; and MArch, Cranbrook Academy of Art, 2013), Farid Rakun operates slowly as a strategy within this fast-paced, growth-obsessed society.  Saying no to nothing in order to question everything, he has designed and built buildings, products, installations, and interventions, as well as writing and editing books and various publications.  His experience working with a number of cultural and educational institutions—such as the University of Indonesia, Tarumanagara University, Cranbrook Academy of Art, University of Michigan, Hongkong University, Goethe-Insitut, Centre Culturel Francais, ruangrupa, and RUJAK Center for Urban Studies—solidifies his belief in productive coincidences brought about by the collaborative nature of his practice.

On-hiatus Proposal Summary

Farid feels that two crucial things in his work relate to RFAOH’s mission statement: his never-ending battle against the notion of the artist as a single-genius, and the meaning of the terms "labor", "productivity", and (cultural & economical) "value".

Using RFAOH’s open call as an inspiration, he will suspend every artistic endeavor he has between November 2013 and June 2014. During this time, he will instead focus on supporting others through every educational means available at his disposal while simultaneously investigating whether suppressing one's own voice can enable an artist to be an invisible force, a puppet master with hidden strings, ‘a soldier-hero on whose uniform decoration is in absentia’?   Similarly, he will pursue the supposition that if his ideal artistic practice exists as a mode of knowledge production, this educational route may be seen as a method of knowledge dissemination.

To do so, he is preparing to retreat behind-the-screen and starting in October will revive the currently-defunct Karbonjournal.org, as well as begin lecturing in the Architecture Department of Universitas Indonesia full-time.  Additionally, as a member of the artist collective ruangrupa, Farid will oversee the group's plans to constitute its own pedagogical wing under the working title ‘Akademi RURU’.   In order to fully commit to these duties, Farid has decided to put his career as a solo-artist aside.

Farid anticipates that RFAOH will force him to put structure to this effort by publishing it to a wider public while collecting as much feedback as possible.  In doing so, he hopes to reevaluate  his efforts and answer some of his remaining questions: “How can he enrich and re-inform his artistic practice through publishing and teaching?”  “Can he strengthen the collaborative & social aspects of his own work through cultivating these alternative paths or by considering them as productive, instead of mere supportive, undertakings?”

Final Report

As someone who likes to produce time-based pieces, the (we)blog form of RFAOH (where Shinobu + Matt asked us to make our “reports”) was the main element that form what I did during my residency in RFAOH. The decision to try to make a single post every single day (the reference to Tehching Hsieh's “Time Clock Piece” is shameless, rendering it a much-downgraded version of the seminal piece) was made by experiencing this provided format.

My original intent to delve more into writing + teaching as productive media, as opposed to merely supportive ones, was proven to be challenging, especially with our constant failure to revive Karbonjournal.org up until my withdrawal. Teaching, on the other hand, served as an omnipotent force underlining (nearly, if not) all of my posts.

The privilege of not making any work is proven to be fruitful for my personal development. Not surprising, I have no problem being an artist not known to have produced any kind of art work in any kind of artistic medium. Surprising, I finally can call myself an artist now, without a flinch.

But art wins in the end, all the time, in my world. No matter how hard I try to evade it (by choosing architecture as my subject, to despising the term “artist”), it always finds a way to break and make itself a big part of my life. Future? Who knows, all I can say right now is because of RFAOH I am getting more comfortable to embrace the fact that most of the time I have no fucking idea what I'm doing. Little calculation, a lot of luck, and undying willingness to have fun get me this far. I hope they're taking me even further, to dwell on the unknown.




recent comments

13_1110 post 10

Good morning.

I don’t drink coffee. I go crazy if I did.

I want to be able to do a lot of things. My brain doesn’t seem to stop to see opportunities to do something in everything around me. For some who has followed my posts here, I might seem like one who cannot stand still. They may be right.

This hiatus is not fully voluntarily for me. Although I chose to do this (with applying to RFAOH), like back in 2010, situation forced me to take a break. I chose to be slow because not only that’s the way to make myself sane in this country (everything is done really slowly here), I also found the potential of taking time to do things that’s considered worth doing in the first place. Taking a ‘break’ right now is a requirement for me in order to be able to reflect + decide what my next plan is.

Looking at how things are being done around me, I am never satisfied. I want to shake the world + tell it to get its act together. Attending the opening of Jakarta Biennale last night, I got the same feeling. I deliberately chose to keep a certain distance from the event not only because of the residency, but also because of my given situations: just having got back from abroad + trying to reconnect with the main activities I did before automatically disqualified me to be really involved in the event. My always uncomfortable art-and/or-architecture position which I’m still trying to figure out myself doesn’t help. This distance, although has been proven itself to be constructive (to see what’s being presented in front of me in a clearer perspective), creates a lot of itch on my body whenever I see a potential to make some things better. It makes me anxious.

I found that self-therapy works. If the guys in Triple Canopy wants to slow down the internet, I want to do the same to the whole world through the way I’m experiencing it. I can at least control THAT. 

If being slow doesn’t mean being relaxed, and being on a break doesn’t mean relaxation time, it is because one thing: pennilessness. A lot of people would raise their fists towards me for calling myself poor, but one fact remains clear: on paper, my income is not only really low, but it’s also late. It creates another anxiety for me, putting me always on the edge of my seat, looking for ways to sustain my existence.

There you go, another trickery towards myself besides being slow + non-productive: to be broke. At least there’s one positive trait to it. It’s my fullest intention to abuse that positivity. I just want to be clear on that.

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