From Without And From Within (The Auroville Project)
Christoph Draeger, Heidrun Holzfeind
“At last a place where one will be able to think of the future only.” (The Mother)
[The Auroville Project] examines the alternative community Auroville, founded 1968 in Southeast India by French philosopher Mira Alfassa (aka ‘the Mother’). The project looks at how the utopian ideals of the community – no private property, no money, no rules, no religion – in short: divine anarchy, are lived today, almost 50 years later. It investigates, how relationships between humans and nature, an ecological and sustainable lifestyle, spirituality and political ideals of self-development and collectivism can be re-imagined today.
Auroville is a social experiment dedicated to continuous education and research on human nature (the search of the inner being) that thrives for human unity through a state of higher consciousness. But can Auroville really still be a model for communal living and a better world today, as the Mother demanded from the beginning? As one of the few alternative communes born in the 1960ies it does not only still exist, but is actually growing and thriving. Nevertheless the goal of building a city of 50,000 inhabitants in the form of a galactic spiral is far from being achieved after 50 years.
The exhibition aims to create an immersive installation comprised of videos, photos, sculptures, archive materials and artifacts, living plants (grown from seeds collected in Auroville), and a group exhibition within the exhibition titled “Re-imagining utopia”, that investigates the potential of utopian ideals in the near future.
In 2018, Auroville will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Although Auroville has a rich tradition of experimental architecture, and although Aurovilians keep emphasizing the importance of creative expression, it is still almost devoid of public or contemporary art. This spring, we organized a workshop with students at the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts to dream up possible interventions and proposals for public artworks in Auroville. Additionally, we asked artist friends and colleagues to contribute works to the Re-imagining Utopia show as part of The Auroville Project, that reflect on the idea of a utopian community in the 21st century. “Re-imagining utopia”, the show within our show, shares its title with the workshop held in Umeå earlier this year. Most works are presented within The Golden Dome, a geodesic structure that invites visitors to not only watch videos, read books and browse archival materials, but also to discuss ideas and proposals for communal life in the near future.
With works by: Carolina Andreasson, Jessika Björhn, Andrew Burton, August Bällgren, Christoph Draeger, Martin Ebner & Ariane Müller, Charlotte Hedberg, Swetlana Heger, Heidrun Holzfeind, Nadira Husain, Elka Krajewska & Gregor Neuerer, Tryggve Lundberg, Gazi Mrah, Klaus Weber und Olav Westphalen
in cooperation with filmcampus