14_0331 post 133
“If all you’ve ever had in your life is praise, praise, praise, you’re probably not a particularly healthy individual.”
Phyllida Barlow, via The Guardian [http://feedly.com/k/1mEq00R]
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.
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?”
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.
“If all you’ve ever had in your life is praise, praise, praise, you’re probably not a particularly healthy individual.”
Phyllida Barlow, via The Guardian [http://feedly.com/k/1mEq00R]
Missed another post yesterday. I cannot even remember what I did yesterday, either to report or even the reason I missed posting. Oh, actually I do… I went to the “house-warming” of a new place this NGO run by an ex-editor of Karbon, Remotivi. I learned the way they monitor these 7 national TV stations. Very inspiring.
Today, I met with another friend, who’s running a design blog (expected to be a database on the subject—at least for this country), 332lab. We talked about how we can merge each of our interests, ending with me lending her my copy of The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need (this is a really good entry point for any discussion RFAOH is interested in raising). It’s funny only in retrospect. Funny haha.
I’m this close to losing my cool in my studio. “What should I do for next week?” is a question I don’t want to hear anymore. But maybe, it’s my verbal communication deficiency.
Watched a theater rendition of Kafka’s Metamorphoses. I miss my Kafkaesque days when I still can be lifted by reading something as bleak as Kafka. This theater group just cannot read.
Nap day. Filled my tax report for 2013. It’s disgusting to realize how little I actually made last year (I only started working in October, but still… It’s not even near to a minimum taxable amount).
Anyway, two things two report:
1) acceleration needed for my seminar class, as I might have to change schedules with another professor so I’m going to teach earlier than planned,
2) a possibility of ending RFAOH sooner than expected. Bam. More on this soon, I don’t want publicly state anything up until it’s a sure thing.
Thought about an angle on putting my studio teaching in these two semesters into a series. Research, maybe but certainly not academic. Interest for sure, but still need to work out more on framing in order to be valuable to share.
Key word: narration.
Moi. Guilty as charged. Ha. Don’t believe me when I say I’m busy. I am only saying to make me feel better about myself.
My mom’s 60th birthday. She decided to wear a hijab from now on. My father stopped smoking entirely.
Good for them. I don’t put myself in the equation, mind you.
Staying at home. Reading + working a little. Catching up with both neglected works I promised some people for so long, as well as regular life. I haven’t read the news really for a week. I’m trying to get better.
Helping a newfound friend who’s moving to Detroit as well. I like connecting people.
Second part of the studio. I’m thinking about narrative as an operative force in architecture a lot these days. I hope the students will end up with great stuffs, so I can use this studio & the one before (with focus on fiction) to push my thinking forward. I’m striving for it.
For my Masters students, it’s shocking that they haven’t heard about Benjamin’s The Arcades Project in its connection to Situationiste International’s concept of flaneur. Anyway, next week they will present.
Happy weekend. I need this.
Rearranged my room. Felt good. Now I can use both corners by putting the bed in the middle of the room, next to the windows.
| | | CUP | |
| | | BOARD | |
| | BED | |——|
| | | DESK | |
| | ___________________| |—–|
| ________________ |
|_____________________ |____CABINET____|______DOOR |_|
Computer sketch of my room
It’s hard to decide where to begin retelling how March Meeting 2014 influenced me + my attitude towards educational institution (a homework I’m doing for ruangrupa as well). But I can try several ways.
First, by chronically describing what quote from whom:
1. From Tarek Atoui‘s sound workshops’ model, done for lengthy periods several times with different participants (once he even conducted sound workshops for deaf students), I saw different strategies + values why one should consider public space as an entity to (re)activate.
2. René Gabri + Ayreen Anastas‘ speeches put so many things I’ve been thinking about during RFAOH into words with logical sequence. One that rings the loudest still: which one is more important, the doer(s), the doing(s), or the deed(s)? Rephrased: which one should an educational entity concern themselves with the most: the students, the works, or the impact?
3. From Ashkal Alwan’s Home Works educational program, I not only saw a model of a possibility of non-elitist education (at least that’s the premise), but also the underlying difference between seeing art education as a curatorial, not academic pursuit (almost identical wordings were used by Sarah Rifky in her explanation of Beirut, but with very different effect in my head).
As you can see, this format is really good for name-dropping, therefore press releases. I think I hear more + more people sound like press releases these days. A different strategy of retelling would be to try threading all of this into one paragraph, like this:
As a curatorial, not an academic pursuit, an art education initiative could visit unexplored territories, through untold narratives + erased histories (therefore usually deemed unworthy by the formal rigidity of academics), through paying most attentions towards each of the students’ biographical history, in order to shift one’s focus from creating easily objectifiable works, while also shaping independent individuals, to make the capacity for change viral in a contested public space.
Writing the paragraph above, I begin to feel like a human version of the 500 Letters or Less automated artistic biography project.
Other form possible is a lazy one (despite sounding very trendy to me), to put everything in a question mark:
Could educational art entity be a curatorial, instead of an academic pursuit? What responsibility should it keep, which ones could it forgo? Should it be responsible for spewing great works, great artists, or great discourses? Where should it position itself in a bigger crowd, aka. the public? Is it better to be an alternative, questioning alternative, or even go beyond the alternative?
Which one would you prefer as a reader to read? Darnit.
All flight. That’s why I missed yesterday’s post.
Report on March Meeting 2014 is brewing on the backburner.
And for Matt: another Chris Hedges’ piece I just read in Truthdig. On academia, refer to the very last sentences. I assume you’ve read this.
From: farid rakun <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 1:26 AM
Subject: Thank you
To: Batool Mohammed <b**@s**.org>
Because I’m a firm believer of the use of waiting aka procrastination. I had some great insights today about education, but I’m going to suspend the excitement for a little bit more by keeping it only to myself for now. Excuse: “inspired by John Cage.”
In 1985 John Cage wrote ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible) without specifying exactly how slowly it should be played. Performances have ranged from 8 to 24 hours, and a 639-year performance is currently taking place in St. Burchardi church in Halberstadt, Germany. What is surely the world’s slowest and longest concert began in 2001 with a 17-month rest. A special organ designed to last at least until the end of the performance in 2640 is currently playing a chord consisting of dâ™¯′, aâ™¯′, e″ and the next scheduled change in sound will take place in September 2020. (Photo courtesy of John-Cage-Orgel-Stiftung Halberstadt.)
via Works that Work
Just because she has created a post exclusively for me. This residency, according to her, has given her the legitimacy to be ”on hiatus“. A proud artist that is not producing. I, on the other hand, have been given the legitimacy be an “artist” by this same residency. During this meeting of her, I can call myself an “artist”, with hesitation no more.
Look at the cinemagraph below from yesterday post.
I didn’t know it, but it turned out to be a piece made by Interior Architecture students from my university. Those who are in their Design Studio 4 were given the tasks to make this ‘intervention’ series in train stations in the city. What do you think?
Sharjah, tomorrow. I’m finishing some copywriting breadwinning jobs. I hope I can finish my target tonight.
Watching them ‘performing’ animation with one screen taking the mainstage, with the animators (they call themselves “puppeteers”) playing with their paper figures in front of cameras to animate them real-time, while the musicians playing live, all facing the main screen + their backs towards the audience, it got me thinking about the value of transparency. By opening the kitchen of animated movies to the audience, rendering them as performance, they question the form of animated movies as products, recorded + spread out effectively. Instead of designing, recording, producing, syncing once + reaping the most of out it by selling it to anyone who is willing to consume it, they ‘perform’ their animation, only once at a time. If we understand art as a one-off exclusive phenomenon, then their practice could be understood as artistic. After watching all of the process as audience, it’s not difficult for anyone to do what they do. In this case, they are demystifying animation. Not surprising, a friend commented after the show, “Ok, let’s do what they do, no?”
Further, nothing in their set tonight can be said to be original. The story is an adaptation while their music + visuals are referential. I loved them for this, but then where is the irony? This, I realized, is bricollage in human spatial temporal scale, being done after Gaga did Dada. With so much stuff going on in one stage at the same time, this is entertainment for people who live with + for distraction. If entertainment today is comfortable distractions, art today needs to be entertaining in order to be popular.
All these are issues I am struggling with in my writing myself. Is there any value by making my writing method transparent? What kind of transparency am I talking about? On how things actually were made + work in order for people to built further on it (open-source Linux style) or as an aesthetic so people can cruise + moving on with what they really want to do with/on/in/at it (Mac’s iFascism)? I like the former as a concept, but I really appreciate the later as an experience. Does being clear that creating solely with affordable smart devices actually says that now anyone can create? Or is it still true that creation (+ therefore being creative) is indeed a luxury, to be achieved by those who have their basic needs fulfilled? Maybe, I know when I see it.
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?”
Fruitful discussions with a lot of peeps about pedagogy + education, research + artistic practice. In times like these, I’m thankful that I’m somehow affiliated with ruangrupa (the parent organization of Karbon).
One most important enlightenment: education produces human beings. Everything else are means to that end. What about art school, or an art institution that has interest to educate? Does it produce the people, or just the people as producer of objects?
All events today rendered pale by the fact that I had a glimpse of Batool over Skype tonight! (Or, at least I think it was her… My bad connection forced us to cut our video-call short + switch it into a voice one…)
I’m going to Sharjah next week! It feels good to be able to say that. Sharjah Art Foundation, where Batool works at, chose me to be one of their correspondents for their March Meeting this year. Excitement.
An old teacher (the first woman graduated from an architecture school in Indonesia) asked me during lunch, “I was surprised when I found out that you wanted to teach. I never thought that you’re interested, with your free spirit and all,” (to translate the question very roughly).
Surprising, the timing, as I just texted my girlfriend about my disappointment of not being able to go to Copenhagen with my parents + sister this June as the plan conflicts with my schedule. I reasoned with this teacher of mine that I “prefer helping people finding solutions for their problems instead of dealing with a set of mine”.
I gave the syllabus for the second project to my design studio class. I am asking them to make their own brief that they can base their designs on. The formulation of the brief is the first project, while designing for it is the second. These 18-19-year-old were really confused. I don’t want to torture them, but I think asking them to start thinking (semi) independently for themselves will do them good in the long run.
I also had the first meeting with 7 (yes, seven!) final semester undergrad students that got me as their grad written thesis advisor (most of them chose me, but there are also those who got assigned to me). They have 13 weeks to complete this piece of writing. All of them want to graduate this year + none of them has any “proper” writing experience (besides blogging + tweeting, which I assume they excel at). This is my first time being an advisor. Learning from my past experiences serving as a final reviewer in grad thesis defense, I decided to act more as an editor than as a master. Does this statement make any sense?
Better news for Karbon. It looks like that we’ll be able to find some support. I won’t jinx it by telling you all the details, but I will when the time is right. So, yes… despite the return of my (light) insomnia, I think my life is picking up in general. I hope this is not just some false hope. 😉
Called in sick again. Reasons + excuses:
1. I honestly woke up with a sore throat still.
2. Big part of our house is under repair (part of our external walls are literally dripping water because of the heavy rain). Only me + Paul could stay to keep the fork down (all the female housemembers have more proper jobs that are less lenient on absence). So did we.
3. Oscar was on TV this morning. This is the main reason, I confess. All two above are excuses. I regret this decision, as I just recall… Watching awards + competitions makes me feel depressed. It makes me feel like the biggest loser alive. + I don’t even believe in competition anymore. Robert De Niro’s lines for his Best Adapted Screenplay presentation was dead-on though (tX for AL.com for this record), “The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.” A writer or not, I feel like that everyday, minus the caffeine (just because my body can’t take caffeine at all).
Oh, this is my first post with my new second-hand laptop! Yeay!
Testing possibility for GIFs in this blog. Cinemagraphs could be a new toy. It’s playing but reather slowly from my browser. I have to hotlink these pics from Nokia Memories since iPad cannot save GIFs without third party app. Are you experiencing the same? I’m trying to figure out the best way to do this, so if anyone had it figured out already, sharing will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Ok. The Fast Company gang (well, this time it’s Behance Network) has taken the task explaining what I am doing in this blog, if I ever want to put it into the frame of function + productivity. Read their impressively short effort here: http://99u.com/articles/23147/a-fitbit-for-work-using-little-data-to-make-yourself-better
Things are looking up. A couple of days ago, I finally got my rollable AC unit fixed. It had been broken a week before my girl came to visit. I got news that there is a second-hand unibody MacBook for sale that I can afford. Other options are either unavailable or out of my budget. Guess who’ll be back with a computer soon?
Original Copies done. I am ready to face my studio on Tuesday. Erik Erikson’s Life Cycle Completed is the other one in the reading list. But I’ve covered that years ago. Little by little I can see my life back on track.