The Hindu: Auroville’s affair with art


Article in The Hindu about 5thAuroville Film Festival
DECEMBER 21, 2017 16:08 IST
Chitradeepa Anantharam, Meghna Majumdar and Vishal Menon

The fifth edition of Auroville Film Festival is not just about movies, but also food, quirky art pieces and installations that capture the memories of the institution that turns 50 next year

DIY films

More than 150 films have been lined up for The Auroville Film Festival (AVFF), Auroville’s biennial film event. These are based on themes of human unity, and will feature four categories–films by residents, residents and foreign filmmakers on Auroville and the bio-region. “Around 70% are documentaries. We are showing films in three venues, simultaneously” says Tom Mo, the organiser.

He says that a lot of films show humanity from around the world. One of his favourites was The Hills Are Greener about a group of farmers in France. “Another feature that sets this year’s fest apart is The Kino Kabaret, where participants were given 50 hours to make their film and the results have been fantastic,” he adds.

Groovy notes

Apart from the films, the Auroville Fest is best enjoyed with the accompanying performances. From jazz to fusion, music forms an interesting addition to the festival. United by a theme of community, most of the performances are by artistes who have a strong connection with Auroville .

“A lot of our guests visit the fest, either for the films or out of curiosity. They stick around for much longer because of the food, the art and the performances. The combination of these various separate art forms are what sets this festival apart,” says Juuriaan, organiser.

Global platter

The very first edition of food festival at the Auroville was truly one of its kind, and reflected the spirit of Auroville community.

Aneeta Pathak, an Aurovillian who has been coordinating the food festival, says the fest brings together several traditional cuisines from across the world. On each of the eight-day festival, a cuisine of a particular region was showcased. These included global cuisines, cuisine from Africa, East Asia, and Europe.

“The food has been prepared by the Aurovillains themselves and it was a joyous occasion where everyone came together and cooked,” says Pathak. As it was a not-for-profit event, the food festival sold buffet coupons for ₹100 and food was served in leaf plates and cups.

(The food festival is on till tomorrow at the Town Hall area, outside the multimedia auditorium, Auroville, Puducherry, from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm. For details, call 9554100465)

Canvas conversations

There is quite a bit of art to explore, by artists from different countries such asKorea and Isreal. According to festival founder Marco Feira, an artist, a lot of the installations this year use old or recycled material to create an impact.

Feira’s own piece, which he says gives the message of “All I Need (to give) Is Love”, hangs five metres high on the main square, a loving installation made with old cloth. While Korean artist Ok J, reputed for her use of upcycled material, built a screen of old CDs which was used for a somewhat visually film movie screening, Richa and Rribu, the Mumbai-Kolkata duo, used old, short and stout televisions to play never-screened footage of Auroville’s early days.

Add to the mix, French artist Dominique’s big-format Auroville “stamps” painted in acrylic and Israeli artist Orly’s cascade of crocheted discs made from old saris, and what you have is a gamut of staid and quirky artworks displayed across the venue to add to the festive feel.