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[...]

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]

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14_0330 post 132

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.

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14_0328 post 131

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.

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14_0327 post 130

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.

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14_0326 post 129

Graduate writing day. 5 out of 7 students. Tough.

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14_0325 post 128

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.

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14_0324 post 127

“[…] the truth is that we are all much less busy than we think we are.”

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. 

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14_0323 post 126

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.

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14_0322 post 125

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.

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14_0321 post 124

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.

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