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_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