MATRIMANDIR & I
a new Auroville WEB SERIES from Aurora’s Eye Films
We are happy to introduce our ongoing web series – Matrimandir & I – about the international township of Auroville and its soul and symbol of unity, the golden Matrimandir. Auroville was created as a universal town where men and women of all countries can live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. Over 50 nationalities currently reside there and its goal is to realise universal human unity.
This Web series is a human experiment, looking into how the Aurovillians relate to the Matrimandir. For the past 40+ years, Matrimandir’s slow and steady progress towards completion has been followed by many people, in many places, and in various ways. In this series we interview Aurovilians about their personal experiences with the Matrimandir, their goals for personal and spiritual development, and the development of the township..
So far, Matrimandir and I presents the experiences of approximately 20 Aurovilians, with many more in preparation. Our dream is to interview all the citizens of Auroville, and we aspire that this action will be part of the common ground for human unity.
How this series began
I am Serena Aurora, an aspiring independent filmmaker specialising in cinematography, directing and editing, and I have worked in the industry for over 10 years. I travelled for many years, guided by an irresistible calling towards supporting sustainability and regenerative communal living.
When visiting organic farms, eco-villages and intentional communities, I made films as gifts that gave them a voice through my ‘Aurora’s Eye Films’. Witnessing the impact this had on education and consciousness set me on a mission. My goal became to create documentary films that are as creative and unbiased as possible, so people may see different possibilities and share them with others as we come together to help manifest our spaces of belonging. I now do this based in Auroville, where I live.
‘Matrimandir and I’ was a natural outgrowth. Through it, Aurora’s Eye Films documents the growth of the city, building bridges within Auroville, and with the world outside.
The Matrimandir means the world to me, it’s one big reason why I live in Auroville – for I feel it’s a place that can unite us. I started this project to try and bring Aurovilliens together, and also to hold a space for diversity and different opinions – to see how each individual relates to the Matrimandir, and to show there is no right or wrong answer…
It is my offering to Auroville.
At the very centre of Auroville one finds the ‘soul of the city’, the Matrimandir. The name ‘Matrimandir’ literally means ‘Temple of the Mother’. According to the Indian sage Sri Aurobindo, whose vision is the basis for the creation of Auroville, the ‘Mother’ concept stands for the great evolutionary, conscious and intelligent principle of Life, the Universal Mother. This principle is the force that seeks to help humanity move beyond its present limitations into the next stage of its evolutionary adventure, the supramental consciousness.
The Matrimandir is situated in a large open area called ‘Peace’, from where the developing township radiates outwards. The atmosphere is quiet and charged, and the area beautiful. Matrimandir is in the midst of a garden divided into 12 individually named parks such as “Harmony”, “Bliss”, Perfection”, Progress”, “Consciousness”, etc., each with its specific variety of flowers, shrubs and trees.
The Matrimandir’s large golden sphere seems to be emerging out of the earth. It can be viewed as symbolising the birth of a new consciousness for the Earth – and Auroville seeks to be a spark for this change. The Mother envisaged the Matrimandir as the “symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection” and as “the central cohesive force” for the growth of Auroville.
The Style of the interviews and filming
Preferring to use first takes and not use any script, my style of filmmaking has evolved around the intention of focusing on the truth. What you see is what you get – quite literally what I see through my eyes – Aurora’s Eye.
I have gathered experience in many aspects of the filmmaking medium by taking up various positions from pre-production and scripting, to production filming and postproduction editing, making it all the way to distribution and exhibition. For many years I did all the camera shots, the editing and sometimes even the sound design.
Now, there is a slowly expanding tribe of enthusiastic individuals each uniquely contributing to documenting each participant’s truth. In the team we have Aurovenkatesh who is the camera operator and editor, Kardash who makes the music and audio postproductions, and myself, Serena, who conducts the interviews, edits and directs. The way we make the series is firstly I conduct a voice only interview with each Aurovilian, where I ask the same questions to everyone.
This way I feel each person can open up and share without the fear of the video camera obstructing, and it’s intimate with only me and the participant, no camera crew. Then on a different day we spend a few hours filming the Aurovilian in the Matrimandir gardens.
In the gardens I try not to direct too much, and ask the participants to enjoy the gardens as they would normally without us there. This way we try to capture the true essence of how the participant relates to the Matrimandir.
We film in slow motion, and in the edit we put the voice and image together. This creates a memoir effect, where we see and feel the participant enjoying the Matrimandir gardens, at the same time, hear their reflections on what the Matrimandir means to them. When we can, we also try to add archival material from the participant.
Here’s our trailer: https://youtu.be/X-3ZBsQZY0E and so far we have released :
Louis C https://youtu.be/89g-dU_J4JA
And here’s the link to the full evolving playlist:
Plus, on the first Sunday of every month we release a new video for this series on the Aurora’s Eye Films youtube channel https://youtube.com/@AurorasEyeFilms
We’d be happy for you to join us !
With Love & Light,
Serena & The Aurora’s Eye Film Team
Disclaimer: This video series does not represent the voice of the Auroville community as a whole,
or the filmmakers, but individual personal voices from the Auroville Citizens, including all perspectives.