Farid Rakun, Indonesia

Residency Period: 1 November 2013 - 30 June 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

On May 2 2014, milena commented on 14_0429 post 158: I will miss you too. All the best1[...]

On May 1 2014, farid commented on 14_0429 post 158: Shinobu, glad you asked. Would the fact that it looks really different depending on whether you're o[...]

On Apr 29 2014, shinobu commented on 14_0429 post 158: a lovely farewell, Farid, thank you, but you know we'll follow you (; (BTW why have you decided to u[...]

On Apr 29 2014, Matt commented on 14_0429 post 158: Thank you for everything you brought to this project Farid; We'll miss you, Its been awesome having [...]

On Apr 25 2014, shinobu commented on 14_0425 post 154: You're not sorry, Farid (; it's your job to break rules for the aesthetics and ideas[...]

13_1231 post 61


This is it. In order to answer a lot of questions/comments on my abundance of posts ‘while on hiatus’: what I’ve done since I started this residency is devising a way to trick myself by the way of daily posts obligation, no matter how ridiculous it is. This structure of blog-post report has afforded me a non-productive state by illusion: a feeling of being productive, while in reality I’m not actually working (in my understanding). Learning from the illusion emails + meetings have, I can manage my restlessness this way, affording myself a leeway for non-productivity.

I am totally aware of the weirdness of it all. In order to level with those comments/questions, I have found a strategy for the month of January to keep on posting everyday, but with less ludicrous rubbish. Stay tune to find out what I have in store. I am not excited at all with this plan—just to give you a teaser.

Happy new year y’all.

Oh, + I just remember a PS: this transcript of a TEDx talk republished in The Guardian is awesome. Just to relate this post to my #58 post.

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Matt wrote on Jan 10:

Residency for Artists in Absentia could be next years project; the same as RFAOH but from the point of view of the lonely practice/studio :)

shinobu wrote on Jan 5:

hey, I cannot even comment on your alphabets - I have lots to say about them


13_1230 post 60

Another series of judging competition entries. Also two undergrad thesis that I need to review on the 6th, bearing the words such as “nightclubs”, “augmented reality”, “behavior” + “future” in their titles.

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13_1229 post 59

I am being social again today. A colleague + good friend of mine, Adam Bobbette from Hongkong, is in town for a short visit.

It helped my bitterness. Oh, + I finished scoring a design competition for which I am one of the judges. First time judging. It’s super weird. I don’t really like it, but thr process gave me insight on how judging works. I’m wondering why anyone is still interested in taking part in design competitions.

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13_1228 post 58

I’m glad I didn’t have anything worthwhile to report today, so I clicked on posts made by others.

My reaction on Sagmeister’s TEDtalk I gladly saw posted by Karen Zalamea is knee-jerk. Everything is so correct about this talk it has proven to be wrong over the years. From seeing it as a really inspirational talk to just another Fast Company-y campaign, I rewatched the whole thing + realize that he (+ a lot of his supporters) is putting the concept of sabbatical (or ‘hiatus’, if you like) back in the productivity scheme of things. Basically underlining the oxymoronic cylical fact: people who have more time for themselves are happier, therefore produce (as well as consume) more. It is also known as the leisure concept, invented by capitalism, utilizing desire as its driving force. I succesfully refrained myself to namedrop in the last sentence + I’m really proud of it. Curators, take note.

Getting back to the subject at hand, I am questioning this understanding of productivity being offered by Sagmeister in the talk through the notion of ‘use’. If all he talked about his sabbatical was how it was really useful + valueable for his personal development as an active subject, will I say the same about what I am doing right now with my residency-disguised (as a) hiatus? Will it be a failure if all of this turned out to be a useless act, not by design but by chance, denying my own authorship by throwing away the importance of my intention as far out of the window as possible? Unlike Sagmeister, will I (better) be a loser, not a winner?

This brings me back to what has become so clear about the education system I’m working for: it’s made to single out needles from hays. It’s a gold sieve, that only cares about the yellow nuggets + leaving the rest behind. Like Sagmeister’s career, it is exceptional, not (trying to elevate standards into) the new normal. Consequently, in this imitation culture I am operating within, instead of inspired individuals Sagmeister wanted to touch, knock-offs are what we ended up producing. Click here for proof. See?

Leave a Comment (3)

Karen wrote on Jan 3:

Hi Farid. Yes, Sagmeister's talk comes across as inspirational on the surface, and I like the idea of redistributing retirement time throughout one's working years. But in the end, his sabbaticals become extensions of his production (in exotic places, no less).

farid wrote on Dec 29:

Milena, because there's no filter? Hi, BTW.

Milena wrote on Dec 28:

Why so many noise on hiatus?


13_1227 post 57

Andy Warhol once said that to make money is an art; if only to ask for it was an art that I mastered.”

—Eva Franch i Gilabert, in the Storefront for Art + Architecture’s end-of-the-year e-blast 2013: Dramas, Dreams and D…, received December 26, 1:26 AM WIB

On money. These last few days have been about end-of-the-year meetings, formal + informal. In Universitas Indonesia (UI), most of them are casual with colleagues + prospective collaborators. In ruangrupa (RURU), yesterday was the official evaluation, although it happened to be more relaxed than what I had with those educators. One thing those meetings have in common: mullah as a responsibility (translated as numbers in report sheets) + means for sustainability (future funding strategies). Things that used to drive me crazy have begun to be endurable. Positive sign or corruption’s on the horizon?

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13_1226 post 56

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13_1225 post 55

Merry Christmas.

Sex is all around (except for me thanks for the LDR). Don Jon, Thanks for Sharing, Blue is the Warmest Color. Is it About Time to replace Love Actually? I’ll give my verdict ASAP.

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13_1224 post 54

I might be a retard here, but why can’t I find a way to automatically embed vertical video anymore on Vimeo? I can’t even find a proper tutorial to do so. My being a retard is still a more believable argument.

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13_1223 post 53

1. The official letter stating that I’m staying in Jakarta, not going to be relocated to Palembang was finally issued today.

2. Please excuse me touching a subject suddenly feels so close to me these last few days: death. A 40-something year old son of a close friend of my parents, first. One of my housemates’ father, second. A close friend’s grandmother tomb removal, third. Is it because Christmas? Finally read an article about the danger of cigarettes that could make me think about quitting (I’m an accutely heavy smoker), fourth. Final fifth: a heighten sense of environmental catastrophe (the melting of the Arctic icebergs, the diminishing wild forest area, all the Al Gore’s nine-yards). I’m going to sleep so well tonight, + it’s not even a sarcasm.

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13_1222 post 52

Totally lost today. I slept all day, only woke up to have some meals.

Tetangga Pak Gesang

Bonita & the HusBand

Spent the night watching the final screening of Jejak Bang Ali (Arum Tresnaningtyas + Dhyta Caturani, 2013) with music performances by Tetangga Pak Gesang, The Extra Large, + Bonita & the HusBand who sang a lot of covers. The whole event strengthen my opinion that our culture value archive + history (footages in movies, cover versions in music) mainly only for its nostalgic possibility. Criticality so far comes only to the extent of how things were done better back in the days, compared to the tumultous today.

In one hand I’m glad finally archival works gain traction + becoming trendy, but on the other hand I really wish we could do (so much) better, push (really) harder in the near future. Just my hope.

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