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_1130 post 30

Doing Nothing, installation view in SIASAT Jakarta Biennale 2013, Davy Linggar, via IndoArtNow

It’s officially been a month. Honestly, after thinking that this ‘residency’ was going to be a piece of cake before it started, I never thought I could last this long when it did. I was wrong, not ‘working’ is tough. A lot of questions + restraints.

Although I’m not ‘working’, doesn’t mean I’m not working. In my standard, I’ve been working my ass off this month, my second month back in Jakarta (this time finally ok re-calling the city as my home again). I might not necessarily produce (art)‘work’, but I’ve been writing, teaching, reviewing, speaking + meeting a bunch of people who forces me to think more. I can imagine some of my friends back in gradschool who would roll their eyes so far up to the back of their head, mumbling, “As if you have not been overthinking everything already.”

Finally, I have a little time to really sit back, relax, + compose this post. I’m using this last post of the month to make what I consider as a proper report. Reflecting back to my original ‘proposal’ for hiatus, which a lot of people translate into ‘doing nothing’, I decided this morning to use this framing in order to put what this month brings into writing. So, for better or worse, here we go…

On teaching: there is two types of approach I see in education as I know it—the first is to utilize + the second is to create. I have seen more of the first approach lately, where one goes into education route, treating it as a means to an end. That end could be her personal agendas (career, research subject, other interests, money, or even sex), or more altruistic purposes, but students, for this approach, are always seen as subjects—of research, of cheap labor, of minions—in whose hands the teachers’ intention will bear objective results.

In my experience yesterday, I saw the possibility of the other approach, where actually the school (together with the students within) as the work itself. Education is not means anymore, it takes all the stages (back-center-+-front) as a unity. There might be no end in this approach, it’s a constant work-in-progress, as the factory never stops receiving raw materials, different everytime, who don’t only come for free, these materials even pay the factory to process them! The job of the factory then is to constantly reinvent the processing based on many more parameters external from these raw materials. Pedagogy then takes the center stage here, focusing more on the how (then the what + why of the first approach) questions of education.

Please note that I’m thinking out loud here. I don’t have any qualitative judgment (yet) on this matter.

On writing (or more specific, Karbon): I might have to put a break on my writing. I am nowhere near becoming a good writer (in whatever genre there is), I still have to learn a lot (a reason I cannot wait until January, when Karbon will start giving workshops for editors + also future writers), but in order to sustain this effort, there’s been talk about Karbon changing its operating models + we (at least me + the head editor) must take our function as schemers more seriously. It might means big reduction of properly written pieces for both of us (I don’t count editorials + curatorials as a proper piece—they’re vital + sometimes are the most important thing in the world, but they’re still supportive).

We want to be able to see the bigger picture. We’re planning to broaden the agency of this journal into a platform, undertaking the home- + dirty-works a lot of media in Indonesia are not willing to take. In our view, there is two main sections of writing in this country: academic + journalism. One is on its ivory tower smoking their fancy cigarettes, while the other is busy chasing bombasts while being continously chasen by deadlines. The gap between this upper- + under-world is being left wide open. We are willing to fill that gap. How? You still need to stay tune to find out.

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farid wrote on Dec 1:

Or maybe some of us are really good at looking as if we're workaholic. By writing about it, no?
That's just my self-criticism.

shinobu wrote on Dec 1:

even though I don't know you that well, it kinda makes me chuckle to hear you say "not ‘working’ is tough" - some of you guys are simply workaholic; I think Matt and I should be at this residency


13_1129 post 29

Can you notice something absurd on this sign?




All images were taken from my short stint as a guest reviewer at Arch Dept UPH. I only post ‘moments’ here, not necessarily the best ones, but more not to get myself into trouble publishing these photos.

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13_1128 post 28

Spent the whole day meeting people, having discussions on Karbon. Roadmapping, brainstorming. Excited for February 13 relaunch. Stay tune.

Visited Kalibata City again, after my first visit to a friend’s unit in 2010, when the complex was not fully built up + running right now. It surprisingly felt more positive this time. The complex seems heterogeneous, although not that inclusive but there are options available for a wide range of activities for different spending capacities. Please keep in mind that those pictures shown in the website above are mostly computer renderings. In reality the complex looks so much grim + grayer. Cookie-cutter birdhouses, as most of us call it. But I’m questioning right now, maybe it’s the society’s unfair judgement based on our conventional living habit. It’s a prejudice that we must actively fight against. Probably.

Also went to Serrum‘s new space. RuPaMatikA, their first exhibition in the space, was up, showing high-school level vocational school students’ work that were produced during a class designed to make them learn about mathematics through artistic means.

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13_1127 post 27

Luvin’ these bugs…

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farid wrote on Nov 28:

Shinobu, yes. But look at how these comments fall in the layout. Unbearable!

shinobu wrote on Nov 28:

I thought we agreed that these bugs are too artsy


13_1126 post 26

A bug. I don’t know exactly what I did. Scroll down one post to see the original.

Tonight is accidentally an Evan Rachel Wood’s night. Two movies: A Case of You (Kat Coiro, 2013) + Charlie Countryman (Fredrik Bond, 2013).

Decided to end this semester’s studio with an internal review on the 10th + an external one on the 17th. Will try to show the students how to make proper portfolio photos. We’ll see. What will I make up in order to fill this column with posts during the break??

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13_1125 post 25

By Suryani Liauw

Would anyone provide me with captions for these pictures?

Thanking anyone in advance.

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13_1124 post 24

Photo courtesy of Wina28, with no relation to the birthday person congratulated below.

Happy birthday to one of my closest people, a housemate (+ some others Sagitaria as well).





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13_1123 post 23

Had a $1 haircut. Plus a little massage.


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13_1122 post 22

This always happens when I try to hibernate: light insomnia. I became restless + anxious, I could not really sleep last night, ending up staring at the ceiling up til 5. Woke up felt a lil bit substandard.

Anyway, below is a video I made partly after seeing Tarkovsky’s nostalghia clip, first seen on MomenTech’s post. Partly, because originally recording this I just wanted to reiterate one of my housemates’ comment when he first heard that another of our housemates was starting doing yoga religiously. He said to her, “Why do you need institutionalized yoga? If you want to exercise your breathing technique, physical endurance for uncomfortable slow position, + therefore, you patience towards everything you do, why not practice the Jakarta yoga: walk and/or get on our city’s public transportation everyday. You’ll sweat + do all of the above in no time!” I don’t think he had any strong ground for this argument, but I think (as always) he touched on something funny.

I do that “Jakarta yoga” everyday. Walk for 5, wait, jump on a busride for 10 , another walk for 7, wait, jump on a trainride for 30, last walk in the forest for 10. Lucky me, I usually travel in anti-commute directions, as the university is in the southern edge of the greater city.

That’s it that is not art. Why? Just because I say it’s not. If an artist have the power to say that what she makes is art, than the other way around also holds ground, yes?

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13_1121 post 21

Finally I can say the following words: I’m tired. Super-tired.

A night in my parents’ solidify this. It’s funny how coming back to your mental crib gives you a license to rest, no? I was doing fine up until I hit that house one more time.

I accompanied my father getting his brand new Fuji camera’s bonus extra battery, got reminded that I have to update the firmware for my own X-Pro 1 (together with its 3 lenses, each with its own update), + had a very big lunch. Free lunches, I’m thankful that in my world they still do exist.

Got driven back home (such a luxury), realized so many things to catch up (I haven’t touched my RSS feeds for weeks, I depend on e-newsletters lately), finished a big part of it (the Guernicas, + the Fast Company‘s, with a new realization how much I can’t stand the tone used by the latter’s majority of articles), + got really exhausted with texts (the fact that I sprint through the last half of Collectivize! in just a couple of hours, as I need to return it to the owner, didn’t help), I can’t even start reading the X-Pro update instructions.

It has become too much. I’m going to a phase of hibernation. I don’t know for how long. Maybe a couple of hours, maybe a couple of days. You can’t plan this kind of things. Can you?

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farid wrote on Nov 22:

@Matt–finally, no? Both words from you + my giving in to rest… ;-p

Matt wrote on Nov 21:

This sounds like an actual hiatus!


13_1120 post 20

Gave this 30-min presentation earlier today, to a group of Interior Design late-year students in a private university in West Jakarta, who never heard about Eames. Maybe it’s a positive thing, or not? Your call. It’s for a class called Kapita Selekta which I never understand what exactly means. Googling it ended up with results such as scientific writing anthology + obscure shit like that. I decided to just wing it. Just make it up as I go.

It consists of a mix between my work + a few of others’ thrown in just to give a little context. It’s about hacking everyday objects, + most importantly, our own way of thinking. Against progress, development, speed, + the neverending more. I put RFAOH as my closing project.

Got home to my parents’ + staying over for the night, since tomorrow I don’t have to go to UI, + this other University is located nearby. I haven’t seen them for awhile, so it’s nice to catch up. In this city, although we’re only a few kilometers apart, thanks to the crazy traffic it’s really hard to just meet people. It’s either I have to organize the meeting with utmost attention to details for the day, or just spontaneously if we happen to be in the same area/attending the same event/etc.

No Mac here, so I’m using Windows + just realized how the Georgia font actually looks really different here.

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13_1119 post 19

I realized something today, after spending a couple of hours (from 10am to 3pm) running around the university, for one sole reason: talking.

I spent a big amount of my time nowadays talking. To friends, colleagues, bosses, students, to my personal partner. I rarely put that time I spend talking into these posts for RFAOH. I don’t think I’m going to start doing so.

My reason to (not) do so is simple: to keep those conversations unrecorded. Indonesia is under a big tension with Australia right now because of this very act of recording, as Germany with the States before us. This is basically the same reason why I never have a Facebook account, deleted my twitter + Path, froze my Instagram, + also still refuse to have a portfolio blog/website under my name. My platforms of choice for personal matters, Friendster + Multiply, fortunately went under, deleting all of my input with their descent. I opted-out their offer to rescue my information.

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13_1118 post 18

Started with another Theory + Method class. I’m not even going to go there this time.

Got invited to give a class course in Universitas Tarumanagara. Will post the lecture here post-event.

Finished the Manfred Mohr’s series. Next stop: Yona Friedman/Balkis Production’s Vimeo channel.

Some pictoral updates on stuffs catching my attention today:

I don’t know whether it shows here, but in my eyes the first cantilever looks bent. I was scared shitless passing through under it.

Tempo magazine just published 100 touristic heaven. We (my roomates + I) promised to visit all of these before we die. My myself has embarassingly visited maybe only 3 places in this list.


No particular reason.

Oh, BTW… New features in Guernica looks good. Will read it incrementally later.

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13_1117 post 17

Same ol’ same ol’. Stuffs.

Decided to drop by one of my neighbours, this time around: MomenTech. I quite liked it, especially the one with the TED talk. Especially coming from the Eastern world + has been called ‘monk-ish’ or ‘zen’ by my Western friends. Just a little side note: growing up, none of my friends considered my to be as such. I will come back to try + give my contribution to the topic of meditation later in a different post.

A coincidence, maybe (if you believe in serendipity), I was (still am, really) in the middle of watching Manfred Mohr’s YouTube channel videos. In this post, I’m going to put only his 16mm shorts from the channel (made using FORTRAN IV + CDC 6400, recorded using DATAGRAPHIX 4460 whose results were then digitized). Question is: do you consider this meditative? I don’t know what it’s called, but for me they calm me down, a similar effect MusicforProgramming series do to my ears—a state I look for everytime I work.

So, enjoy… I guess?!

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13_1116 post 16

Viaggiare, è proprio utile, fa lavorare l’immaginazione. Tutto il resto è delusione e fatica. Il viaggio che ci è dato è interamente immaginario. Ecco la sua forza.

Va dalla vita alla morte. Uomini, bestie, città e cose, è tutto inventato. E’ un romanzo, nient’altro che una storia fittizia. Lo dice Littré, lui non si sbaglia mai.

E poi in ogni caso tutti possono fare altrettanto. Basta chiudere gli occhi.

E’ dall’altra parte della vita.

(Travel is useful, it exercises the imagination. All the rest is disappointment and fatigue. Our journey is entirely imaginary. That is its strength.

It goes from life to death. People, animals, cities, things, all are imagined. It’s a novel, just a fictitious narrative. Littré says so, and he’s never wrong.

And besides, in the first place, anyone can do as much. You just have to close your eyes.

It’s on the other side of life.)

Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Viaggio Al Termine Della Notte (Journey To The End Of The Night)

Only watched movies today. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012), Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012), Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve, 2013), La Grande Belleza (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013). Stole the quote above from the last movie. Never read Céline myself. Was not a fiction person, but the idea of being one is getting warmer + warmer for me everyday.

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13_1115 post 15

Another uneventful day.

I’m posting a photo from yesterday instead. A lot of favorites in this photo.

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13_1114 post 14

Things to report today:

Batool Mohammed posted a new post (“The Missing Post”) based on my “post 8”, in which she dwells more into her comfort calling herself an ‘artist’. Godspeed.

Shinobu wrote a comment there, “You are the theory, Batool, you are.” 

I read this archaic statement:

“Owing to the very success of this separated system of production, whose product is separation itself, that fundamental area of experience which was associated in earlier societies with an individual’s principal work is being transformed […] into a realm of non-work, of inactivity. Such inactivity, however, is by no means emancipated from productive activity: it remains in thrall to that activity, in an uneasy and worshipful subjection to production’s needs and results; indeed it is itself a product of the rationality of production […] So what is referred to as “liberation from work,” that is, increased leisure time, is a liberation neither within labor itself nor from the world labor has brought into being.”

—Guy Debord, Society of Spectacle



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Batool wrote on Nov 16:

Thank you Farid! I knew it was out there! probably in the half of that book which I didnt get to


13_1113 post 13

1) Sonja Dahl’s review day went well. Her notable comments on the projects she saw in 4 words: brave, frightening, + ethically questionable. My 4-word reply: thank you very much.

2) Went to the opening of the first ever SEA+ Trieannale, an event that I just accidentally found out 5pm today. It’s nice to be reminded on what popularly understood as art (in Indonesia, at least). It solidifies my belief on why things should be approached differently, at all cost.

3) Giving a giveaway of The Houses of Louis Kahn (Whitaker + Marcus, Yale University Press, 2013) in Archdaily a shot. Doubtful. But who knows.

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13_1112 post 12

I’m inviting Sonja Dahl, a Fulbright recipient + fellow Cranbrook alumn (Fibers ’12) for a review tomorrow. I came just to check in earlier today. Will update with pictures tomorrow. I’m honestly worried.

Rained really hard, I think the city was paralyzed. I waited in the station of the university for the train back to the city for more than an hour. Killed the time by finishing The Funambulist Pamphlet Vol. 05: Occupy Wallstreet for my next theory class. Moved on to re-reading The Society of Spectacle. These two form the last reading series for the class.

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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.

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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 (;


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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13_1109 post 9

The opening for Jakarta Biennale 2013: SIASAT. For some additional supporting reasons, I made a conscious effort not to get too involved in it. This residency is one of those reasons.

A collection of things I collected by attending the opening of Jakarta Biennale arbitrarily, with no particular order:


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Xiaoyu wrote on Nov 18:

Nice post.


13_1108 post 8

Since I quit the proper Architecture (notice the capital A) world in 2010, after ± 5 years working for it in Bali + Cambodia, I’ve been thinking about whether one still can call themselves an ‘architect’ (or ‘artist’) while not producing buildings (or artworks). By chance, the opportunities offered to me were all back in my hometown, Jakarta, filling positions that popularly considered as ‘supporting’ ones: assistant teacher in an architecture department of a university, + an editor for a journal published by an artists’ collective. Although it suit my idea of what a dreamjob would be at that time (I only wanted to have all the time in the world just to read + write, nothing else), while I was in the middle of practicing this way, I began to ask myself: could I keep my practice this way, but take more responsibilities in what’s considered ‘cultural production’, + therefore calling myself a practicioner still?

I haven’t found the answer.

“Those who can’t do, teach.” So goes the popular saying. But I’m looking for ways to reverse that (at least in my own head) to “those who want to do more, teach.” Today’s a case in point. By having a one-on-one with all of my 9 students, I found the joy in listening to other people’s inspirations, intentions, + confusions, instead of being busy with my own thoughts + problems all the time. You can call my teaching as escapist, but I found it to be rewarding. It’s so clear in my head to see problems (that sometime bear similarities to my own’s, but more often than not it’s not the case) when it’s being faced by another person. I learn more by teaching—a cliche statement, but if a lot of people around me learn by doing, I prefer the kind of knowledge I gain through teaching.

One that could be most useful for RFAOH’s frame of interrogation: I consider the greatest asset for architecture is its capacity to enable people. To grow together with students, seeing them push their own envelopes, achieving things they didn’t know they’re able to when they started, therefore liberating them from certain limitations (they usually set up for themselves), is being true to that capacity. Sometimes I think it’d be fine for me to never design any object anymore, as long as they do. I create through their agency. I know it’s not fair, but I hope it’s sincere enough I could be forgiven. Am I using them? I think so, but I help them to feel good (or at least better) about themselves through being used by me. Isn’t this the essence of every social relationships?

I’ll touch on editing (+ also writing) in another post.

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13_1107 post 7

Nothing to report today. Just entertaining friends who have started to come for Jakarta Biennale (+ Biennale Jogja which will open a week after the Jakarta one).

Opening is on Saturday. I’ll bring in more thoughts then (wishing to make more discussions on the subject here)…

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13_1106 post 6

First post on my students’ studio work: in short, we are experimenting on deliberately using fiction to generate architectural ideas, because what is architecture proposal but a kind of fiction?

The following are what the 7 (out of 9) of them went for crit earlier today (more details as we go):

Ristina Hasna

Jonathan Swift

Yudhitia Adelin

Talitha Amanda Hakim

Fiska Chandra Agrisita

Hatta Gusnadi Putra

Tri Octiviani


Last but not least, I found this to be funny. So The New Aesthetic. No? Saw it on my way to a Karbonjournal.org meeting. We just brainstormed on ideas for each of our column, preparing for our February relaunch.


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13_1105 post 5

Finished my second edited DRAFT to meet the deadline. In short: I’m trying to write a fictional super short story on the two distinct approaches architects + planners use to deal with kampung (slums) in Jakarta.

One is what I called Slumdog approach. From the imagination on vertical kampung that seems to catch-on as a fad lately, to Urban Think Tank’s Golden Lion victory during last year’s Venice Architecture Biennale.

Inverted Pyramid, Jakarta, by Budi Pradono Architects via.

The second one is what I called as Woles approach. Taken from a Yogyakarta Javanese slang, the term woles refers to slow—it’s more or less ‘slow’ pronounced backwards. It’s not only more time + labor consuming, but also less sexy. The Kali Code in Yogyakarta (with also maybe Elemental’s participatory social housing project) is one of its prime example of this approach.

I’ll put an update when it’s published (I don’t think it’d pass the editing phase for another week). Although it’s in Indonesian, but now there’s the ever-questionable Google Translate.

Today’s also a holiday. Moslem’s New Year, no? If I’m not mistaken. So happy new year…

Kali Code, Yogyakarta, Y. B. Mangunwijaya via


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13_1104 post 4

WTF Visualizations worth of an ad.

Got in an empty class (big thanks to the Moslem’s New Year holiday tomorrow). Only 2 students (out of 20-something) showed up. Both (by the sample, it’s safe to say that ALL) of them got confused by the assignment I gave last week. They got paralyzed by the large degree of freedom the assignment gave them (I didn’t tell them to do specifics, just gave them a set of rules to follow), + decided not to do finish it. Me + my teaching partner gave them extra 3-hours (which supposed to be a presentation + discussion time—as the point of the assignment is the discussion it should have provoked) to finish + submit. I felt like a failure + have been dwelling on this problem in my own head for the rest of the day.

On my way back home, I took one bus stop before my regular one, as I needed to fix the sole of my left boots (I’ve been wearing boots lately since it’s entered rainy season). This pair has lasted for at least 13 years. The seller (a really nice old chap with a really photogenic skin tone—look at the photos below, would you agree?) mumbled something when I asked how much I owed him. I took it as, “whatever you deem fit.” I gave him a Rp20,000 bill (± 2 USD), and he gave me back Rp10,000. I didn’t know that there’s still a service that costs so little in this gentrifying city.

Passed my today’s deadline, since that paralyzing feeling is indeed contagious. I asked for an extension + got approved (well, my editor offered an extension even on Friday, so I felt entitled to ask for one anyway). Hoping to meet it tomorrow, as it’s a holiday. Fingers crossed.

A presumed Chinese-Arab family that gave me a glimmer of hope

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13_1103 post 3

Bought a new PowerAdapter. My 3.5 year-old just got busted, putting a big hole in my pocket right now. Money—it’s a wicked problem.

Continue reading + editing. Watched Upside Down (2012), + continued to a movie on UK’s Creation Records label from 2010 with the same title. The first one got me thinking about an idea of the different meaning of the word ‘tourism’ in the first + third world (with the TransWorld corporation as the connecting second?), useful in the way it pushed me thinking about an idea of project based on tourism (not unlike any residency scheme RFAOH brings to question). The second movie just got released too early, if you asked me. This growing trend on music scene is tiring for me, as it stops being a documentary + look more like advertisements (to get a sense on how it has taken this dive, compare this to the BBC series on Factory made in 2009, as well as the horrible 2013’s CBGB). I always love My Bloody Valentine + Primal Scream (who could deny the greatness of ‘Loaded’?), but watching these series of interviews has become similar to listening to an architect’s talk for me—narcissistic, soulless, + salesmen-like. Maybe they should have made + released this movie on the subject in 2020, when the nostalgia on Oasis, say, would reach its peak. Right now, it’s just downright sad.

But, the most useful thing today I have to say is a movie given to me by a housemate, Soer(yani Liauw—movie/festival activists), entitled Empire Me (100 min, 2011). Watch the trailer below.

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13_1102 post 2

Slept all day. Been a while since I let myself did that. I’m loving this hiatus period + the activities I’m allowing (forcing?) myself to have while I’m in it. I might go crazy later by not producing something, but that’s totally not a problem for the time being.

I’m teaching myself how to write fiction by reading the James Wood’s book I mentioned in the previous post. More on that in these next few days. Am also reading the 3 last sections of Neil Leach’s Rethinking Architecture respectively on Deleuze, Derrida, + Virilio (yes, I’m deliberately skipping Foucault), for the Design Theory + Method class I am teaching at 8am every Monday. Can you imagine being one of these students, starting every week with such seriousness? It’s good for me personally, like giving myself a shot of pure adrenalin right before start jogging… I just don’t know how it works for them.

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13_1101 post 1

Hello world.

First day: all are on hiatus—from a piece of writing I’m doing (on the first editing phase, + with that an urgent reading material: James Wood’s How Fiction Works) to my teaching schedule (I went to see an old friend instead, planning for a summer course we might do next year) + FabLab plan (we’re still waiting for the CAM software to run the CNC-mill), and even the plan to revive Karbonjournal.org which has been on real hiatus for more than two years (when I went to the US). More about each later, + I promise you… Stay tune + everything’ll be much clearer through time.

Watched Andres Duany’s ‘Lean Urbanism for Local Government’  + Living on One Dollar (Zach Ingrasci, Sean Leonard, 56 min, 2013). The former made me think how to actually connect Detroit + Jakarta in my future practice (if there will be one… Ha!), while I stumbled upon the second while thinking to do a similar thing for this residency (1 CAD/day, 30 CAD/month, just as my promised stipend). I dropped the idea, not only because someone has made this movie, but also because no one could help but to compare it to Tehching Hsieh’s body of work, running too much risk of being perceived as ‘another art project.’ One risk I cannot afford for this time being.

Street objects that got my attention today:

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