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.




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14_0429 post 158

This is it. The last post.

While I’m packing + preparing my devices to take this long trip, I decided to jot down what’s been on my mind lately: money, outsourcing, luxury, + the freedom to not do something.

As someone living in Jakarta, I am forced to deal with constant unpleasantness. From getting from one point to another under certain time limits, to moody weather that can change from super sunny to rainstorm in a matter of minutes, to floods, electric outage, slow average internet connections, dealing with civil servants + public beuracracies, etc.

It’s public knowledge that inequality is getting worse in this city (I think it’s a global trend), + I’m wondering, how do people more than me deal with these unpleasantnesses? It’s easy to see the physical fortresses they’ve built to protect them from these, but if they hit even the most basic urban infrastructures, they must spend at least a fraction of their precious lives experiencing these phenomena, which are everyday facts for most of us. How can they cope with it?

Throughout history, luxury (and therefore wealth) is expressed not only through things you can do, have, and acquire, but also by things you can afford not to do, have, or experience. Fashion is one of the best examples: frills are not made for those who had to wash their own laundry, neither were those fancy dry-clean only designers’ dresses + suits, made out of delicate materials. What about high-heels? They’re certainly not made for walking on our (non-existent) trotoar.

The logic of this expression of privelege done through showing the affordance of being able to not do something leaks through everything else in this city: as long as you are willing to pay, you can have someone else do something for you. This is the poison of outsourcing. Roads are terrible? Have a driver that could take you anywhere you want to take your car with you. Paperworks are just not worth your valuable time? Secretaries, ojek drivers, middlemen, and preman are here to assist you by doing it for you. The non-efficient anxiety-inducing systems are made exactly for this. You can find any kind of assistant service this way. In a system promoting middlemen services, a lot of untraceable financial flows can be made. That’s the whole point of the system: to make you give up. But as long as you have the funds to back you up, that’s the only way to get things done around here.

Other best example for this logic of not-doing is the latest case where the biggest public bank in Indonesia somehow managed to pay nothing for their tax report back in the early 2000’s. It’s in Javanese system to show your power + prowess not by doing, but exactly by not doing certain things (that’s why our culture really value silence), and by successfully evading tax, BCA showed how powerful their grip was on the state.

Thinking for myself, I twisted all of the perspective above by asking one question: what if + how can I free myself from making money to sustain my life in this city? Would it be the ultimate subversion act to question the basic building block of all mentioned above? I’m challenging it by really making a minimum wage amount (a little less than USD 300), with no other extenral support, and still living decently in the last few months. By not having to support my parents (I’m going to come clear here, they, both un- + fortunately for me, can be included in the top 5% population of this country by wealth), I can live + experiment with my own life, up until now (early thirties). By not having anyone burdening me, as a male, I can achieve the freedom of men promoted by feminists 100 years ago. By sharing, I don’t have to own some of the daily stuff I need (I do this both in my house + ruangrupa). I’m not campaigning anything in my everyday life. I just simply live with others, quietly making my own choices based on my antagonism against money (at least up until I wrote this post).

All the counter-cultures successfully created their own counter-aesthetics, and it’s working against their purpose. They become reducable into fronts, styles, fads, poses. These aesthetics differentiate, saying us + them, really effectively. This, I consider, to be a fallout.

Lastly, I want to relate it back to RFAOH. By being an artist who’s not doing art, in my reflection I am not exercising a constraint to show my protest against art-making (although I really found those who did it for this purpose in the post-war avant garde era really inspiring + liberating). What I have done is exercising my power to be able to afford it at all. MomenTech, can this be zen? If artist is a profession, stopping being a professional is a privelege, not exactly a challenge. I am fighting for this privelege, not unlike neoliberals fight against their being taxed. For this insight, I want to thank RFAOH for giving me the space, forcing me the time, and challenging me enough in these last few months.

Without you, I am nothing.


PS: case in point: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/silvercar-luxury/361001/

PPS: I’m leaving with my second draft of the document I’m preparing for Sharjah Art Foundation (scroll down + down + down for more details on this)…

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milena wrote on May 2:

I will miss you too. All the best1

farid wrote on May 1:

Shinobu, glad you asked. Would the fact that it looks really different depending on whether you're on desktop or mobile device enough reason? 😝😜

shinobu wrote on Apr 29:

a lovely farewell, Farid, thank you, but you know we'll follow you (; (BTW why have you decided to use this goofy font for your last couple reports? You know, I'm just curious..)

Matt wrote on Apr 29:

Thank you for everything you brought to this project Farid; We'll miss you, Its been awesome having you involved!! Best of luck in Brazil!


14_0428 post 157

Ok. One day before the last. Excuse my posting of poly-amory… Not new at all, but liberating in the frame of using sex as a resistance tool against “operativeness” of contemporary society.

If anything at all, at least this article is entertaining: http://hyperallergic.com/122689/sex-as-renewable-resource-the-philosophical-view/

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14_0427 post 156

My last Sunday in this space. I want to use this one to inform how, on paper, I’m living around great people in my house. I dedicate this post to them (I’m not putting their names here for privacy reasons, but just following the links, those who wants to know could easily look who’s whom here).

1. The “floor” manager of Komunitas Salihara, (this is not a real position, this is just the term we think explains her job description better) an art establishment focusing on literature, performing + visual arts.

2. A photo/videographer who’s currently working on the first ever Indonesian pavilion for this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, taking Ketukangan/Craftmanship: Material Consciousness as its title.

3. A film festival producer, whose latest effort is being the Manager for Europe on Screen, opening next week.

4. An art administrator/reporter who is currently unemployed after recently quit her job in Jakarta Endowment for Arts & Heritage (JEFORAH) + grant-giving foundation Kelola. She’s looking for job in advertising next.

5. Just moved out: an activist working for Rutgers WPF, “a renowned centre of expertiseon sexual and reproductive health and rights”, as Program Manager.

See, on paper, these people are superb. But I’m not friends with them because of any of the above. Those are misleading representations on each of them. I never know or value them for those things, but more for things that are really difficult to put on paper.

Again, this is a post dedicated for them, but this dedication is done through not writing about the most important things about them. I’m trying not to reduce them to abstractions like what would the rest of the world know them as, like written above.

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14_0426 post 155

Another book I’m planning is on architecture of the publishing house Komunitas Bambu‘s new headquarters, designed by Yu Sing. It’s under construction, and might take another year (at least) to finish.

What interests me in this project is how the dialogue between client-architect, despite the toughness, can result in something entirely surprising for both parties. The fact that it’s a new twist on Betawi house (the original ethnic of Jakarta) doesn’t hurt.

This is an ambitious project, I just can hope to assist in the process by keeping up the steam ahead, so it can meet some (if not all) of its potentials.

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14_0425 post 154

This is the post supposedly announcing my Sao Paulo trip, as I picked up the visa earlier today. But, I guess it’s for better, as when I tried to take picture of the visa, it seemed to me that it’s not a wise thing to do, displaying something like that on the web for everyone to see. So, excuse my not fulfilling my intention. But, yes… I’m going.

Below is just some cinemagraph I’ve been taking after some time not posting them here…

PS: Shinobu, sorry to mess up the layout again… with the oversized image.

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shinobu wrote on Apr 25:

You're not sorry, Farid (; it's your job to break rules for the aesthetics and ideas


14_0424 post 153

“Seeing the situation as low comedy is a way out of the bind. I would propose that the first practical step towards laughter is to un-art ourselves, avoid all aesthtetic roles, give up all references to being artists of any kind whatever. An un-artist is one who is engaged in changing jobs, in modernizing. It is quite possible to shift the whole un-artistic operation slyly away from where the art customarily congregate. To become, for instance an account executive, an ecologist, a stunt rider, a politician, a beach bum. In these different capacities, the several kinds of art discussed would operate indirectly as a stored code, which, instead of programming a specific course of behavior, would facilitate an attitude of deliberate playfulness towards all professionalizing activities well beyond art.”—Allan Kaprow, The Education of the Un-Artist, Part 1, in Art News, February 1971.

Above is another glimpse: (a quote I found begging to be inserted into RFAOH while I was reading materials for) ruangrupa (RURU) school. Today is the-monthly-meeting day at RURU, with people being really excited about Karbon (that’s next glimpse), + my first ever discussion about the plan of RURU opening up a pedagogical wing to celebrate its 15th anniversary next year (passed that date, + we’ll be the longest living cultural organization in the country, beating the communist LEKRA who were forcefully disbanded in 1965—their 15th year—by the New Order government) for which I am responsible for. At this early stage, all options are there still to follow, whether being formal/informal, targeting middle-schoolers/university students/graduates, as a separate entity/unified with RURU as it is right now, + most importantly interrogating the effect it can have to RURU as an insititution and collection of individuals. First preliminary presentation of proposal will be done late May, when there’s a big international group congregating here for the Arts Collaboratory meeting. Among them (hopefully) will be someone from Ashkal Alwan, whose Home Works program I found inspiring (I remember Christine Tohme stated that this educational program was a “curatorial act” instead of an educational one during her panel at Sharjah March Meeting). This can be huge, but it’s not only up to me. So we’ll see, shall we?

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co-directors wrote on Apr 25:

And we'll be participating (in spirit)


14_0423 post 152

 Another day, another glimpse. Below, is just the very first draft of a cover of a book I’m doing on the students’ works in my latest 2 studios. Nothing on this picture is final. Not the image, not the title, not the font, not even sure how I’m going to have it printed. Self-published is most likely, let me know if something come up on your mind this instant.



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14_0422 post 151

Another surprise: because of my Cipta Media grant support purpose, I browsed my girlfriend’s Facebook wall (I hope I get this right, since I never have been in Facebook ever, so please understand) + found this post by RFAOH which consists of this line:

RFAOH sadly bids farewell to Farid Rakun, our beloved (and most industrious) on-hiatus artist who will be terminating his residency at the end this month. He will start working for the São Paulo Biennial 2014, where his collective Ruangrupa has been invited to exhibit by Charles Esche — Huge congratulations!! Farid says he’ll give us a glimpse of what his post-RFAOH life will be like on his page – be sure to check it out!

Ha. I couldn’t make a better announcement myself. To be put that way, it just feels bigger than life. Yes, ruangrupa is invited to be in the Bienal this year. Yes, I’m going there in the end of this month to do preliminary research for this for two weeks. Yes, Charles Esche (the curator this year) is the one who invited us (consequently me) because we’ve been part of other biennales he curated. But to be put in a paragraph like that would never cross my mind. Below is my trial to write my own version (which supposed to be posted after I pick up my Brazil visa Friday or even Monday):

The end is here. I have to bid farewell to RFAOH which has been an omnipresent part of my life for the last 6 months. As the picture shows, I am going to Brazil, departing Tuesday, April 29th, for a research trip I’m doing for the artists’ collective (head host of Karbon) ruangrupa, as we are planning our project for the 31st São Paulo Bienal. Excited, of course. Super-nervous, absolutely, as personally I have never take part in any art biennale (not in a million years I would guess I would be anywhere near participating in them, if you ask me 5 years ago) + this virginity will be taken by one with the scale of São Paulo (second oldest biennal in the world, only to be topped by Venice) when I’m travelling alone. Inside, I’m a shipwreck. I’m going to miss this space.

Am I losing every surprise I need to tell you for the post-RFAOH life glimpses? You wish. Some more things are coming. You just need to wait + check back this space every day until (exactly) next week.

Oh + for anyone who wants to follow my useless twitter/Vine/Instagram (as I’m really selfish in my posts), my handle is @rakunteur for all.

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shinobu wrote on Apr 23:

Our verdict is that simply because FB is run by these guys: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezPzOrcf7QE

farid wrote on Apr 23:

S & M, really? 743%? I can't imagine the real numbers, but that's kind of crazy. Why you think? Any specific topic/hashtag mentioned/used?

shinobu wrote on Apr 22:

yeah, we totally ruined it haven't we? So sorry Farid, but we were too excited, and that FB post reached 743% more people than the last week, according to the FB's chimp script department.. It must be a good sign..

Matt wrote on Apr 22:

Congratulations again Farid, (sorry to let the cat out of the bag so to speak) - Its an fantastic opportunity!


14_0421 post 150

Whattttt!!!!????? 150th post! I honestly didn’t see it coming up until I wrote the title above.

To celebrate, I think I have to be honest. I think my term in RFAOH has to come to an end soon. I can’t contain limiting myself anymore. I don’t think I’ll ever reach the post #200 (after a really simple math, I could only reach 200 if either I had not missed any post up until my 6th month in the residency: April, or if I made it into June like the original plan), it’s just impossible.

For the next 10 days or so (at least I still have the decency planning to finish this month), I’m going to give a glimpse on what’s my post-RFAOH life will look like. I don’t really know exactly how it will be myself, so glimpses are the only thing I can give. By then, I think my reason/excuse of ending RFAOH sooner than planned would become clear as well.

First glimpse: petajakarta.org


As written above, please visit petajakarta.org for more info, both in Bahasa Indonesia + English.

After that, I would be really grateful if you kindly visit our Cipta Media grant page–http://www.ciptamedia.org/269–in which you can support the project by sharing it through your Facebook + twitter with the facilities given on the top of the page. You can do this up until May 10, 2014.

If we got this grant, I would be swamped with work + no longer deserve the title to be on-hiatus. The jury will deliberate the shortlist not until June 20, but with this in the background, I still think the title “on-hiatus” is just too much for me to bear.

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14_0420 post 149

Questions from Shinobu (in the comment section on my last post) made me realize that I owe some explanations:

1. What I did (like the emebdded twitter timeline two posts previous) was capturing what’s been recorded of SAF’s March Meeting 2014 by following the official hashtag #MM2014, on the meeting dates, March 13-16, in both platforms, Instagram & twitter. Those made the material limitations of what I can use to make my contribution to SAF blog. What you saw was my first try on how to make all of it more digestible, readable if you will. It’s not successful in this sense yet, but after a Skype meeting with SAF, I had some idea & inputs on how to make it work.

2. Usually, my answer would be the latest, “Why should we care? What’s the difference? Like one favorite McLuhan quote of mine: if art is about doing the best we can, then Balinese don’t have art because according to them they always do the best they can in everything they do.” The irony on how I knew this worldview held by my fellow countrymen through a Canadian is something else to discuss in another time. But, for the sake of RFAOH, I’d like to entertain this question further, as I think this is a space where dwelling on this question can actually be productive. It is art or writing, in my opinion, depends on the context. The fact that this is originally made with the intention to just become one post in a (rather conservatively understood) blog, surrounded by other pieces easily understood as writing, makes my intention to make a piece of writing logical. It can easily considered to be an art when it’s put next to a sculpture in a white box gallery, presented as a flippable iPad presentation, of course, but even a book which is agreed upon as a writer’s creation, would fall into this fate under such treatment. The questions raised here would be for RFAOH itself then, what actually we mean by the term art then? What’s the container we’re talking about here? Why aren’t zen meditation, gardening, & posting senseless craps each day inside this container? A (rather ancient) Balinese would consider all those things as not different than art (if you met her in the seventies, it’s certainly not the case any longer). This is taking an interesting turn, no?

3. 😜 aka ;-P


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14_0418 post 148

Below is the first draft of what I’m doing for SAF (look at previous posts for more info on why). By mining twitter + Instagram for materials to form my piece of writing (+ testing my discipline only to “touch” them as minimum as I can), I’m attacking two questions I’ve had in my mind for awhile:

1) Can ubiquitous mobile gadgets (I’m talking actually only about phones + tablets) be utilized to their fullest extent to become productive tools, instead of only consumptive ones? I use the term productive here in a more broad, intellectual sense, not only economical—in a sense as tools for knowledge production, to use the popular term, which I am always hesitant to do these days. Thinking like big-data owners, there are certain form of data can only be gathered by these gadgets. They are giving birth to a certain new aesthetic that we can reflect on what reality we are experiencing today. These tools are totally ideological. They are (at least trying their best to be) transparent on everything but themselves.

2) Is there any value on making certain research process transparent to anyone who’s willing to see? Will it foster happy accidents + discussions, replacing the burden of individual authorship with commons, and in the end let a new form to emerge organically (in this sense, I’m arguing for my consideration of what I’m presenting here right now as an unedited piece of writing)? Isn’t then social media channels are the best to do so? Wouldn’t then we’d be asking different questions on privacy, unlike what we’re struggling with today? Can it be that we’ve been sharing the wrong stuffs (personal data) + hiding the important ones (ideas) for so long?

Again, these are questions I find difficult to answer, therefore worthwhile to dwell on. Some of you might find them ridiculous, but I hope you still can enjoy this work in progress.

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shinobu wrote on Apr 18:

I have questions: Q1 - so all these Instagram photos are also directly from (or related to) the SAF? Are you talking specifically about this past March Meeting or SAF in general? (I cannot possible click all the links over the 90 page documents - very rigorous! Q2 - is this art, is this writing, none the above, or wtf, do we care? Q3 - are we following each other?? @_RFAOH


14_0417 post 147

Testing using twitter search to data-mine with certainities. This is for my contribution for Sharjah Art Foundation’s March Meeting 2014 which I went last month + where Batool works. How is she, BTW I’m wondering? She’s done with this residency, so is she back being productive… No more “on hiatus”? What’s post-hiatus life like?

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shinobu wrote on Apr 17:

we are all wondering - always -


14_0416 post 146

Missed another post. Deliberately, so the date + the post number match. Ha.

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14_0414 post 145

Nottingham to report really, but this article: http://www.elasticspace.com/2013/03/no-to-no-ui

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14_0413 post 144

Went to see a writer friend who is building a complex to house his publishing company, house, + residences. He’s having a little problem on how this project are unfolding. After seeing the drawings + ongoing construction, I advised him to stick on his plan + these pains he’s going through (budget + time, what else?) are worth the idea. It’s (going to be) amazing.

Oh, + I think I might use this columns to do a little experimentation on ‘blog’ format. More of it coming soon.

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14_0412 post 143

Learning something new today, from “stacktivism” through articles like below:




By that, I realized something, that the Internet is not unlike art in my world. They’re not ideal environments, but through them I understand stuffs so much better. I still don’t know why I’m so smily today.

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14_0411 post 142

One thing that could prove to be an interest of RFAOH in my life lately: the notion of “doing something” with your life.

Being an ambitious (although lazy) person, I’ve struggled with this all of my adult life. Adoration, acknowledgement, fame + fortune, are excess, I found out a little while back. What’s important is the interior feeling of actually “doing something” worthwhile in my life. Lately, I’ve been questioning this notion even further.

Last night my girl had a breakdown. She didn’t feel like she has accomplished what she wanted to do in life. This is an irony, since like what I always tell her, her greatest quality that made me fell for her in the first place is that she didn’t give a damn about these worldly stuffs. She’s somewhat pure in my world, + I adore her for that quality. As long as she can support herself, + do what she wants to do (she’s a maker + shaker), she’ll continue feeling awesome. Those two things—life support + life itself—can be mutually exclusive. Diving deeper to this, we found out that no matter how ridiculous this stress was, she still could feel it’s there. It’s a by-product of looking at + buying the things people say on their Facebook status. A lot of them are boasts, telling the world that s/he just got this/that grants for this/that how much dollars to do this/that (better be solo) exhibition that is taking place in this/that gallery located in this/that cultural capital of the world. I told her she’s better than that. I thought she was beyond that. And she was, up until she started meeting these boasters either in person or online (I told her to go to some architects’ public events since I couldn’t be there myself, + the first reason I stopped hanging out with architects is because they are the worst in this kind of ego-boosting, therefore ego-crushing, games).

In a quite recent heated argument I had with my 1-year younger brother (who lives in the States with his family), he finished his arguments with the sentence, “being middle class, productive, and working are not something to be ashamed of.” My answer to that was those were the exact things to be critical about. Those notions are ideological constructions. The exact opposite of those are poor, parasitic, and unemployed, a.k.a. the groups society gives its consent to get rid of. Those are the reasons behind our prisons, hospitals, zoos, and mental wards. It’s a blatant violence, + we should look at a closer look of the notion of unproductivity as a political stance, but I must add—without falling to The Situationists’ trap.

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shinobu wrote on Apr 12:

the worst institution = the institution of my own in my head


14_0410 post 141

The title of this post looks like magic numbers.

Staying at home working. Planning for this year’s Rookie Competition for Asian architecture students (its super-weird website can be accessed here), as UI is the Indonesian partner of the competition. I don’t know why I’m doing this for the department or the students. Maybe out of love? I don’t think so.

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14_0409 post 140

Election day! I feel like this is the first time I got excited about election. Today is for the representatives, while presidential one will be held in July. For better or worse (it’s clear now that this nation is still under the shadow of the New Order), it’s democracy. It’s supposed to be a mess.

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14_0408 post 139

Another Chris Wallace post, this time on competitive culture in Guernica [http://www.guernicamag.com/daily/chris-wallace-the-winner-takes-all-society/].

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14_0407 post 138

Missed another post yesterday. Train service has been disturbed two work days in a row. I’m kind of screwed.

Worked from home, preparing assignments for my theory class (as this Wednesday is an off-day—legislative election day!), as well as a ‘debriefing’ for my studio. The short slideshow can be seen below (click to enlarge, so you can see the last scan from the latest issue of C magazine—the only one I will ever have I think, as the previous one never came, + my subscription is ending according to the piece of paper came with this issue).


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14_0405 post 137

Despite my cash-strapped condition, I found 3 book-bargains too good to pass.

Marc Angelil + Dirk Hebel, Deviations: Designing Architecture > A ManualVarious, Mobile ArchitecturePeter Cachola Schmal + Oliver Elser, The Architectural Model: Tool, Fetish, Small Utopia.

Each was priced at exactly Rp500k [± USD 46], so much less than the price I found online, but still I actually could not afford this. Credit card to the rescue. All of them are really useful for my teaching, that’s the excuse I keep on telling myself in the head.

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14_0404 post 136

C-magazine finally came. The Walking issue. Past midnight, this one was supposed to be yesterday’s post.

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14_0402 post 135

(Should we listen?)

via naked capitalism [http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/04/wolf-richter-just-got-paypals-new-absolutely-privacy-ever-policy.html]

Wolf Richter: I Just Got PayPal’s New Absolutely-No-Privacy-Ever Policy

“Posted on April 2, 2014 by 

“By Wolf Richter, a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Originally published at Testosterone Pit.

“Sunday, when people had other things to do and weren’t supposed to pay attention, PayPal sent its account holders an innocuous-sounding email with the artfully bland title, “Notice of Policy Updates.” PayPal didn’t want people to read it – lest they come away thinking that the NSA, which runs the most expansive spying dragnet in history, is by comparison a group of choirboys.

“The email started with corporate blah-blah-blah on privacy, that PayPal was “constantly” changing things “to give you more of what you want and improve your experience using us.”

“Got it. This is going to be for your own good.

“The email further discourages you from diving into it: So “this might not be your favorite stuff to read… but if you are interested take a look.” And this having gone out on a Sunday: “if you have other pressing things to do we’ll understand.” The click-through ratio of that link to these policy changes must have been near absolute zero. So I clicked on it.

“Once on that page, you have to dig through some dry verbiage before you get to what they cynically call their “Privacy Policy.” Turns out, PayPal is a giant data hog.

“It already has the information you hand over when you sign up, including your name, “detailed personal information such as date of birth,” address, phone number, banking and/or credit card information. It further collects information about all “your transactions and your activities.”

“When you get on a PayPal site or use its services, it collects “information sent to us by your computer, mobile phone or other access device.” This “includes but is not limited to” (so these are just examples): “data about the pages you access, computer IP address, device ID or unique identifier, device type, geo-location information, computer and connection information, mobile network information, statistics on page views, traffic to and from the sites, referral URL, ad data, and standard web log data and other information.”

“You read correctly: “and other information” – anything it can get.

“PayPal also collects personal data by putting cookies, web beacons (“to identify our users and user behavior”), and “similar technologies” on your device so that you can be tracked 24/7 even if you’re not using PayPal’s services, and even if you’re not on any of its sites.

“Wait, “similar technologies?” By clicking on another link, you find out that they include pernicious “flash cookies,” newfangled “HTML 5 cookies,” and undefined “other web application software methods.” Unlike cookies, they “can operate across all of your browsers.” And you can’t get rid of these spy technologies or block them through your browser the way you get rid of or block cookies. You have to jump through hoops to deal with them, if they can be dealt with at all.

“In addition, PayPal sweeps up any information “from or about you in other ways,” such as when you contact customer support and tell them stuff, or when you respond to a survey (Just Say No), or when you interact “with members of the eBay Inc. corporate family or other companies.” Yup, it sweeps up information even when you interact with other companies!

“It may also “obtain information about you from third parties such as credit bureaus and identity verification services.” And it may “evaluate your computer, mobile phone or other access device to identify any malicious software or activity.” So they’re snooping around your devices.

“And when you download or use PayPal’s apps to your smartphone, or access its “mobile optimized sites,” it collects location data along with a host of other data on your mobile device, including the unique identifier that ties it to you personally in order to manipulate search results and swamp you with location-based advertising “and other personalized content,” or whatever.

“After vacuuming up all this information “from or about you,” PayPal will then “combine your information with information we collect from other companies” and create a voluminous, constantly growing dossier on you that you will never be able to check into.

“Who all gets your personal information that PayPal collects? You guessed it.

“First, it defines “personal information.” Turns out, much of your personal information is not“personal information”: any information that PayPal has “made anonymous” – we already know how anonymous that really is – is not “personal information,” and thus can be freely shared with or sold to whomever. And it shares the remaining “personal information” with:

  • eBay and its affiliates
  • Contractors that “help with,” among other things, “marketing and technology services”
  • Financial outfits (such as GE Capital) that help decide, for example, if you should receive pre-approved credit-card offers
  • Credit bureaus and collection agencies, which get your account information
  • Companies PayPal might merge with or be acquired by. There goes your entire dossier. You can’t stop it from being sold to the new entity, which might be a Chinese company.
  • A basket of our favorite law enforcement and government agencies and “other third parties pursuant to a subpoena, court order, or other legal process….”

“You can’t opt out of PayPal’s spy apparatus.

“You can only opt out of receiving their ads and pitches. And activating that “do not track” function in your browser to keep PayPal off your back? No way José. “We do not currently respond to DNT signals,” it says laconically.

“So, if you don’t like being surveilled like that, you’re still free to close your PayPal account. But that’s not going to wipe out the information PayPal has collected “from or about you,” and its automatic systems continues to collect data through cookies, beacons, and “similar technologies,” and through the sophisticated spy capabilities that are part of any smartphone worth its salt [hilarious video…. iPhone 5nSa].

“PayPal will simply mark your account as “closed” and you can’t get into it anymore, but it will “retain personal information from your account for a certain period of time” – probably forever – to do all sorts things, including “take other actions as required or permitted by law.” Yup, aspermitted by law. It won’t do anything illegal with it. That’s the only promise. Alas, there aren’t exactly a lot of legal restrictions in the US on what companies can do with personal data.

“PayPal is not unique. They’re all doing it. They’re part of the enormously hyped bubble of Big Data whose business model is to collect and monetize your personal information, which has become part of a new asset class. And seeing this, the NSA is dying of data envy.

“But government agencies are already on a roll with off-the-shelf surveillance technologies, and they justify them with peculiar rationales: According to the LA Police Department, anyone driving a car in the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area is automatically part of a vast criminal investigation! Read…. Los Angeles Cops Argue ALL Cars in LA Are Under Investigation

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Matt wrote on Apr 2:

is all this technology we use now a days worth this? -- (sigh)


14_0401 post 134


April mop = ruangrupa’s birthday. 14-year-young today.

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