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_1111 post 11

Happy 11.11.

Two notable occurences:

1) My fear was proven right. We told my theory class students to read the sections on Deleuze, Derrida, + Virilio in Neil Leach’s Rethinking Architecture (Routledge, 1997). As expected, they’re dumbfounded (who wouldn’t be?). But what I was afraid of was this dumbfoundedness made them refuse theory altogether, so I asked them what they thought about theory + its role in (architectural) design in the first place. Most of them (only a few of them were even willing to speak up) had this resistance, finding theory to be uninteresting + to be avoided at all costs. They believe solely in their intution in designing solely. I’m not saying right or wrong, but it made me question the class’ dispensability now. Maybe it’s not necessary to have it, is it?

Rough translation of the title: Our Culture and Stutter, Cultural Oration by Karlina Supelli

2) A series of speeches held by the Jakarta Art Council (DKJ) regularly (started as bi-annually, but it’s been an annual event for awhile), this year given by the philosopher + astronomer who was also active in Indonesian 1998 Reformation movement, Karlina Supelli. It touched on a lot of subjects: science, philosophy, identity, nationalism, + also criticism towards religionism which is getting a lot of traction here (like a lot of other nations in the world, Indonesia is facing a right-leaning political + cultural trend). She closed the speech with “8 points for cultural tactics” which were straightforward, blatant, + concise. It’s not without flaws, but she managed to work the audience into standing ovations. She’s a good orator, I’d give her that.

A friend said, “It’s been a while since I experienced a serious talk like this + liking it.” To a certain extent, he was right. Here, we are lacking of discursive, instead of dogmatic +/or judgemental, conversations + spaces for it. It won’t hurt to have more.

Leave a Comment (4)

farid wrote on Nov 14:

@shinobu as far as I know, it is not, but it is in the process to be, common practice. It is a scheme to charge more tuition fee, promising ‘international standard’ to its prospective grads.

shinobu wrote on Nov 13:

Interesting. Is it now common for post-secondary institutions to have "international programs" in Indonesia?

farid wrote on Nov 13:

It's the ‘International’ program (I can elaborate on the meaning of this term in private channel, if you're interested), so it's taught in English. Those French dudes still refuse to die, no matter how hard we're trying to kill them.

shinobu wrote on Nov 13:

it just occurred to me -- are you teaching in English or Indonesian? Theory's role in architectural design.. holy, those French dudes follow us everywhere (;