in Curating, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
Farid Rakun (ruangrupa), Antonio Cataldo
What does it mean to deal with the unknowns?
The artist collective ruangrupa has operated within the density of Jakarta for almost two decades by now. They encouraged ideas of proximity to proliferate in the urban space through material and immaterial practices, common and uncommon spaces for the continuous definition of art, opposing the false division of disciplines commanded by the dictatorship of modernity. In the same spirit, together with two other artist collectives, Serrum and Grafis Huru Hara, ruangrupa co-initiated GUDSKUL, a public learning space to practice equality, sharing, solidarity, friendship and togetherness.
The intent of artists’ collectives is to inhabit the fringes of possibilities. Open up novel ways of operating in the matrix. Produce opacity. Articulate habits. Redefine bureaucracies. Wake sensibilities. Produce space by transgressing given ideas of culture. Speak about things when no one is interested in them. Do not talk only of what one is against. Leave ideological positions behind.
If art and artists can no longer dwell on themselves, becoming a collective and working collaboratively is one way to take a position in society, to problematize the monumental and the phallic: the museum, the genius, the wall, where even exhibitions may become barriers instead of an extension of our experiences. Structuring systems resonating with other forms of sustenance in the current available economy, and building ecosystems within the neighbourhood and the city to challenge local and global power relations occurring between citizens, the state, and corporations, is a maintenance process. Not creating something new, but maintaining something that is already there. Collecting notes that sometimes are already connected. Make them become a big village without a masterplan. The things we can’t escape are there.
During this upcoming gathering, in an economy of sharing intellects, artist, writer, editor, teacher and instigator, farid rakun from ruangrupa will open up questions related to how to shape space, time, and technology in a given locality to enhance sensory experiences. In conversation with Antonio Cataldo, currently director of Fotogalleriet Oslo, and previously co-founder of Intorno group in Venice, attendees will be welcomed to ask questions, tell stories, portray habits, chronicle bureaucracies, and unfold attitudes where the known encounter the unknowns, the unknowns bridges to the known, the unknown turns around to what is the known.
Trained as an architect (B.Arch from Universitas Indonesia and M.Arch from Cranbrook Academy of Art), farid rakun wears different hats, dependent on who is asking.
A visiting lecturer in the Architecture Department of Universitas Indonesia, he is also a part of the artists’ collective ruangrupa, with whom he co-curated TRANSaction: Sonsbeek 2016 in Arnhem, NL and currently functions as the collective Artistic Director for documenta fifteen (Kassel, 2022). As an instigator, he has permeated various global institutions such as Centre Pompidou, La Biennale di Venezia, MMCA Seoul, Sharjah Biennial, Bienal de São Paulo, Harun Farocki Institut, Dutch Art Institute (DAI).
Antonio Cataldo is a curator and writer based in Oslo. Currently he is the the Artistic Director of Fotogalleriet. He earned his MA in exhibition studies from the Università Iuav di Venezia under the thesis supervision of Professor and Philosopher Giorgio Agamben; and a BA from SUN, Naples. In parallel with his curatorial work, Cataldo has been working on a PhD at Zurich Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK) since 2016. Cataldo came to Fotogalleriet from the position of Curator at OCA – Office for Contemporary Art Norway. Prior to his engagement at OCA, Cataldo worked as a Teaching and Research Associate at the Università Iuav di Venezia, as Associate to Curatorial Projects at Fondazione March in Padua, and was the co-founder of the experimental collective Intorno Group in Venice.