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_0319 post 122

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.


Leave a Comment (3)

shinobu wrote on Mar 20:

It's Apr 3 (It's under media on our page BTW (; ) - spread it if you have friends in UK! We are still contacting other ppl in London as well..

farid wrote on Mar 20:


tX for bringing this group into my attention. No, I'm not familiar with their activities. When will this presentation take place? Keep me updated on what's brewing preparing, during + after you've done it. Awesome.

shinobu wrote on Mar 19:

Thanks Farid - will ask the last question at the educational institution and its audience where we'll be presenting RFAOH (: -- I don't know if you have already read about them but the collective who has invited us this time "..addresses the current (art) educational crisis" (yet maybe for different reasons from yours) Will be interesting to talk about your residency with us