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

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[...]

14_0228 post 104

Getting sick. I taught two classes nevertheless: a morning Theory class for 4 Design Masters students (one person missing, one person didn’t even bring his work to discuss, with the other two tried, but boy how much homework they still need to go through) for which I gave the Twelve Lectures by Salingaros, & the studio (they’ve worked hard… But because of that they were such on a low-energy throughout the class). My sickness took a little toll, I couldn’t boost their energy up.

I’m dropping one big proposal I have to do (it’s a prestigious travel grant) from my plan, because I’m reshifting my priorities. Teaching should be given more focus (though according to some I’ve wasted too much time already on it), which means Lab stuffs, research cluster to-do’s, & 3 classes this semester. With Karbon & ruangrupa’s preparation meetings, my hands are full. I need a make-over. Maybe I should start with rearranging my room.

I’m still reading Original Copies.

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14_0227 post 103

Called in sick. Read all day. Finished Causing a Scene. Hoping to finish Original Copies today.

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14_0226 post 102

Reading Charlie Todd + Alex Scordelis’ Causing a Scene: extraordinary pranks in ordinary places with Improv Everywhere, as well as Bianca Bosker’s Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China. All to prepare myself for another application. This rat race, no?

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14_0225 post 101

Nothing to report really, other than grim financial condition kicks-in again, when it’s time to pay rent. Ha.

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14_0224 post 100

One-hundreth post!!!!!!! Damn me, I missed another post yesterday, for no apparent reason (I really just found out that I missed one, thinking I did write something yesterday). Total negligence.

But, today actually serve as a great thing to post as my 100th post: some questions + comments from Shinobu + Matt, resulting from a series of email conversations between us, made me think about something I had forgotten about for a while. To elaborate, below is a part of that email I just sent them:

[…] when + where would banal productive acts done by everyone (such as blogging, Instagramming, tweeting, taking selfies, etc.) could be considered (elevated?) as art, and therefore elevating the person who do these activities as artists? Can it be done? (of course, the answer is yes, as it’s been done so many times before) Does personal career trajectory matter (in your well-used Duchamp’s case)?
When I was asked when I was attending school on whether something is actually art or not, my answer was, “Does it matter?” Decoying practice as something else was my interest at that point. Actually, it still is. I want to be a property investor (if only I could) to transgress people’s experiences, learn from it to understand the system inside out, in order to strip the myths around it. Qualitative judgment can be suspended, let alone morale. I always have difficulties calling myself as an artist. It might be for a strong reason.
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shinobu wrote on Feb 25:

wow, congratulations! are you really on hiatus?


14_0222 post 99

The last post with 2 digits. Can’t believe that my 100th post is coming up shortly, no?

Rain as an urban threat is here again. In the worst points, water has reached the 3 meters height. Evacuees (is this the right word?) are an urban entity for the n-th time this year.

On the other hand, I haven’t been working on anything at all this weekend, refusing at least two opportunities to be productive with rain as an excuse for my laziness (I didn’t even go to the charity event for my dead friend, in the end). I have been reading some books on Hongkong, though. Portraits from Above – Hongkong’s informal rooftop communities & Invisible Logic – Hong Kong, as Asian culture of congestion, respectively. Settlements, maybe you can say that’s where my interests lie right now.

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14_0221 post 98

Missing my computer a lot. I succeeded to get a hand-down one on my desk in the university, + it’s sufficient for writings, emailings, and text based stuffs. But for more serious things, it doesn’t even have Photoshop (or is fast enough to handle the new CS’s… Handed down, remember?).

The charity event is still on today. Might drop by after checking machines in UI.

I’m hooked on House of Cards. Season 2, all 13 episodes has leaked.

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14_0220 post 97

Setting up machine. I kind of love this kind of work.

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14_0219 post 96


A newly-built terminal nearby to be officially open next week, which I pass through nearly everyday. Popular media has called it the embodiment of our current governor’s dreams in the form of a building. I agree that it’s indeed dreamlike, but it’s uncanny quality torn me to figure out whether this is a wet dream or actually a nightmare. If dreams are to be interpreted, this one is not too difficult to do.


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14_0218 post 95 (dedicated to Ibnu Rizal)

A friend just passed away. Cause of death: a complication of meningitis, hepatitis c, liver failure, and toksoplasmosis. He was 25-year old. Main cause of death: late diagnosis. He was so sick for days + peed himself before he was hospitalized. The ‘jagal/act of killing’: financial condition. His family just simply could not afford the treatment bills. As he was someone who worked in wide cultural spheres, through ruangrupa more than Rp40million (± USD 4,000) was collected through donation in no time. There is a charity event scheduled for him this Saturday. Another case of too little too late: a case that would likely not happen if he was working ‘properly’ (direct translation from Bahasa Indonesia, which refers to having a corporate career). Grim is indeed the word of the week.

I was planning to post some pictures of the funeral. But from what I gather (with little help from close friends) the web is full of them already. At least the timelines, feeds, and (e-)walls of my social reality. So I digress to do so. In the most of precious times, words are proven to be more than enough.

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Matt wrote on Feb 19:

We are very sorry to hear of your friend Farid; and want to extend our sincerest condolences.

This discourse that certain "work" has more value than other types - (or even no work) - is a kind of social construction; not too far flung from some of the questions we are poking at with this project. There IS value in nonsense, as a legitimate, and really the only place, where these kind of questions can emerge beyond the cliche right/left dialectics of market centred politics. Social empathy should also be recognized for the value it brings on par with if not beyond market forces. Sadly it rarely seems to.


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