The Cooler Lumpur Festival is a multidisciplinary festival curated by PopDigital. The Kuala Lumpur-centric festival adopts specific themes each year with the aim to expand the city’s cultural horizons, build stronger communities and cultivate the creativity and imagination of people. Here’s a timeline of all the festivals since its inception.
In 2013, The Cooler Lumpur Festival debuted under the simple theme of #WORD which set out to explore the written and spoken word.
The annual festival’s sophomore edition was themed #FAST – rooted in the notion that the driving-force behind successfully fast-forwarding development was through sharing, engaging and experimenting in new ideas.
2014’s #FAST was attended by over 5,000 attendees and featured contributions from artists, musicians, writers and thinkers including Man As an Literary Prize winner Miguel Syjuco, The Man Booker-nominated writer Adam Foulds and Damian Barr who was named Writer of the Year at the 2013 Stonewall Awards.
2015’s festival theme DANGEROUS IDEAS celebrated ideas as the driving force behind every decision we make, the root of all human progress, the power and means to overcome difficulty and the impetus to take action against injustice. DANGEROUS IDEAS featured panels and lectures by Lindy West, Ian Doescher and Tun Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
Its fourth installment in 2016 titled RE: INDEPENDENCE drove healthy discourse amongst communities, on everything from independence in nation building, right down to independence in our everyday lives. Amongst the concepts explored was the paradox of technology – it automates so many daily tasks for humans free their minds for other things, but most urban dwellers are also slaves to these mobile devices.
2017’s Notes from the Future discussed social, political, technological, and cultural ideas that have become representative of our times and tell the story of our collective futures. It was also the first year that the festival welcomes Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur as a programme partner, debuting Japanese VR artist Aimi Sekiguchi and science fiction writer Taiyo Fujii.
With 2018, we hit the reset button with CTRL-ALT-DEL. Inspired in no small part by the events of the 14th General Election which saw the opposition take power for the first time since independence; a period that required a full reboot of out government, policies and ideas. Quite appropriately, we hosted Tom Wright, from the Wall Street Journal, and co-author of Billion Dollar Whale, which captures the story of 1MDB – a major contributor to the fall of the Najib Razak government.