Bridges of East-Asian Countries

Otherwise infused with a static presence, the interiors of the National Museum reverberate with a strange din. Different instruments ring/clang/beat together without any attempts at uniformity, yet with a certain sense of music. Spread across three rooms on the first floor, the sounds are a part of "Musical Landscapes and the Goddesses of Music", an interactive exhibition put together by visual artiste and musician Ranjit Makkuni. The prodigious show includes more than 150 exhibits which include prototypes of instruments, installations, photographs and paintings.

"I've put up shows before that bridge technology and tradition," says the 54-year-old, "Technology changes very fast. But music, technologically, stays stable. Among other aspects, I wanted to compare India's connection with the image of goddess to the rest of Asia and woman's form in music." The three-room galleries are stocked with models of various forms of instruments with sensors, which, when touched, trigger their

respective sounds.

Makkuni's travels and musical curiosity has brought together instruments from East-Asian countries such as India, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Korea and Vietnam for the three-dimensional installations. One such comprises five bronze sculptures of Buddhist monks standing with metallic bowls. We are told, by helpful museum guides scattered across the rooms, to put a small metallic ball in the bowl and it chimes with sounds of coins falling on a metal surface. "This shows that even the most inane objects can produce music," says our guide.

Apart from strings, drums and the xylophones, we also spot a dense circle of vegetation, to connote how music affects crop yield. There's a resilient LOVE sculpture, reminiscent of Robert Indiana's work, standing horizontal in the middle of the room. The last section of the show involves a series of chants and prayers, reflecting the music that resides in temples.

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