Insta takeover: The Other Festival in Ipoh offers viewers a virtual adventure

Iconic buildings like the Ipoh Railway Station are featured in the 'One Or The Other' interactive experience. Photo: Kakiseni

With the conditional movement control order (MCO) in place (in the Klang Valley), taking a trip down to Ipoh Old Town in Perak, with its iconic buildings, historic back lanes and amazing eateries, is nothing but wishful thinking.

But what if Ipoh comes to you?

Enter the One Or The Other interactive experience, a virtual iteration of Kakiseni’s The Other Festival 2020, the first of its kind by the arts group.

The Other Festival, launched in 2015, is a celebration of the living art, culture and heritage of Ipoh Old Town.

Using Instagram Story as its platform, One Or The Other presents one minute-long episodes daily (except Oct 25 and 26) till Oct 31 at 9pm on Kakiseni’s Instagram page.

“The distanced-lifestyle has made us put a hold on running the The Other Festival physically but we wanted to continue celebrating the love for history, arts and culture of Ipoh, ” says festival curator Lylatul Qadrina.

“We started with a really huge virtual idea to host the festival online, and slowly stripped the components down to the most necessary and meaningful; for us and the audience, ” she adds.

The One Or The Other gives viewers the choice to direct the daily "experience", navigating around a curated Ipoh trail.

You get to decide the direction of the next episode using the voting feature in Instagram Story.

Should you eat at the mamak or the kopitiam? Walk along the Kinta Riverfront or Kong Heng Square?

“​We want to celebrate Ipoh Old Town in a new way and have the public as active participants of the experience, ” s​ays Kakiseni president Low Ngai Yuen.

“The voting feature allows this level of interactivity, togetherness, and ease of usability that we feel can be enjoyed by a lot of people even though they have never attended The Other Festival, ” says Lylatul, 27.

One Or The Other’s watercolour art inspired visuals are designed by Kakiseni’s graphic designer Nurul Hidayah Adnan and the Instagram Stories even come complete with ambient soundscapes.

The story is written by Lylatul and project coordinator Qusyairi Zazili and it is curated by Kakiseni’s digital manager Shufitri Mohd Shukardi.

Elements in One Or The Other are also inspired by previous The Other Festival activations.

Expect to see a tree character inspired by The Forest Is Not Mute by Kuasa Perak (2019) or a fog man character inspired by Fairuz Sulaiman’s light installation Cloud (2017).

“Some viewers, especially those from Ipoh, do feel homesick! The feedback has been encouraging from the illustrations, to the uniqueness of the content, but also a level of familiarity that comes with it, ” says Lylatul.

In the end, Lylatul says One Or The Other is really about paying tribute to Ipoh residents and artists who have been heavily involved in The Other Festival year after year.

The Other Festival was launched with the support of the Perak State Government and the Perak Tourism Board.

This annual festival aims to highlight the creative side of Ipoh and reveal the stories behind the city’s heritage buildings.

The festival normally features a mix of live performances, guided tours, movie screenings, food trails, creative forums, art bazaars and workshops.

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