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

14_ 0307 post 111

Yes, the beautiful number of 111.

I don’t know where to start these days. I wake up every morning paralyzed for a bit do not know which should I do first for a couple of minutes, just lying there on my bed staring at my ceiling.

It showed clearly why today. Woke up this morning a little bit late, half ran to the bus station hoping to catch a train to the university on time. Read a classic compilation of short fictions about a historical area where artists, merchants, and thugs met naturally in the middle of Jakarta, by a film director who stopped directing movies + concentrated on writing (especially scripts) after Indonesian movies met its first downhill era in the seventies. That area has since been eradicated by hyper-gentrification. There is no such place in this city anymore. Did the theory class for the Master students. Attendance was 2 out of 4. Had group crits with my studio, + forwarded them an email about an event called “Ciliwung Perspectives” tomorrow. I hope some of them will be interested to come. It’s all about flooding in the end.

Finished the book, Misbach Yusa Biran’s Keajaiban di Pasar Senen (originally titled Miracolo Senen Raya, derived from Vittorio di Sica’s Miracolo a Milano) on the train from the university to ruangrupa. Last day of marathon meeting this week (it’s decided to do a marathon meeting every Thursday + Friday of the last week of the month all year), talking about our involvement in the forthcoming São Paulo Biennale + the Arts Collaboratory meeting hosted by us in May. I was mainly there to be present in the discussion.

Went home to change, + off to a work meeting over beer (I had to have dinner by the time, as I didn’t really have lunch). Work = grant scheming for a plan to prototype a program needed to boost the utilization of OpenStreetMap in an effort to map water management + behaviour in Jakarta. I got home tipsy. It’s been a while.

Now, although all the above make interesting story, one question lingers: am I actually working? My day consists of meeting + talking to people these days. Tomorrow will start with meeting a fellow architect about prospective projects… Asking him to give an architectural drawing workshop for my studio is one of them.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love doing what I am doing right now (the lack of sufficient words to describe actually what I am doing most of the time also something I cherish), but in those few seconds on my bed in the state of not fully awake, but not really asleep, a voice never fails to whisper, “What are you going to do today, lazy ass?”

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