When a musician continually sets out in the wilderness of imagination and returns, what from their explorations remain? Harkeerat Mangat’s newest film, Recording Rituals (2017), serves as a medium for his meanderings over a mixed terrain of music, technology and recording. In this comedic film essay, a pseudo-ethnographic narrator tells the story of a group of Indian Classical musicians who have been invited to perform a concert at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, only to decide, after receiving an architectural tour of the museum, to produce a recording there instead. They go on to transform the museum’s courtyard into an open-air recording studio where they invite a group of actors to simulate a live audience they can engage with for the purposes of the recording. Mangat repeatedly punctuates the film’s narrative with character monologues heard over an image of the museum’s façade, making persuasive arguments that contradict one another over the course of the film, pushing viewers to different ends of his dialectical spectrum. For Virasat 2017, Mangat will present a lecture on the research and references that surround Recording Rituals (2017), followed by a screening of the film. To conclude the presentation, there will be a Q&A session with the artist.
Recording Rituals (2017) was made with the generous support of the Aga Khan Museum and is currently on view from July 22, 2017 – January 01, 2018 as part of the current exhibition: HERE: Locating Contemporary Canadian Artists, curated by Swapnaa Tamhane.