Artist, composer and performer Hanna Tuulikki (b. 1982) works primarily with voice and gesture, creating immersive spaces that unearth an essential relationship with the lore of places. Performances and films combine costume, staging, and sculptural objects, often within unconventional settings. Photography, drawing, text, and innovative visual-scores extend the work, illustrating subject-matter, creative process, and narrative. Recent projects explored mnemonic topographies: the land encoded in the song, the lore embedded in the land; mimetic protolanguage: a lexicon of signing voice and singing body; and vocal androgyny: experiments in extended voice technique.
Her largest project to date, Air falbh leis na h-eòin | Away with the Birds (2010-2015) is a body of work investigating the mimesis of birds in Scottish Gaelic song. At the heart of the project is a vocal composition Guth an Eòin | Voice of the Bird, written for a female vocal ensemble, reinterpreting archive, fragmenting and then re-weaving extracts of songs into an extended soundscape. In August 2014 it was performed in the harbour on the Isle of Canna, as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. A digital, interactive iteration of the work, commissioned by The Space, was launched in August 2015.
Other recent works and exhibitions include SOURCEMOUTH : LIQUIDBODY (2016), audio-visual installation commissioned by Kochi-Muziris Biennale inspired by the mnemonic landscapes of India and the relationships between river-systems and the human body; Women of the Hill (2015), live performance and film commissioned by ATLAS for High Pasture Cave on the Isle of Skye – a song-cycle for three female vocalists, responding to the archaeology and topography of an iron-age, matrifocal, sacred site; SING SIGN: a close duet (2015), live performance and film installation commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival for historic ‘closes’ – a vocal and gestural suite, with a baroque-inspired, score for a male and female duo derived from a 1765 map of the city; heart-to-heart (2014), bronze bells cast from a heart-shaped stone, made and performed as part of Alec Finlay’s Taigh: a wilding garden, a National Memorial for Organ and Tissue Donors in Scotland, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh; A Rose in the Dawn | A Wake to the Dream (2014) lithographs of two pictorial alphabets commissioned by GSA Exhibitions for Spheres of Influence II at the Reid Gallery; spinning-in-stereo, a composition for two voices, based on a traditional Gaelic spinning song, presented as a visual score and vinyl LP for GENERATION at The Travelling Gallery (2014); Guth an Eòin | Voice of the Bird, pen & ink visual score at Cape Farewell’s Sea Change exhibition, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, (2013-2014) and Between the Late and Early, RSA (2013); sea saw the circle (2012), a composition for string quartet and musical saw, using conventional notation resolved into an innovative visual score, commissioned by The Red Note Ensemble; High-slack-low-slack-high (2012), a site-specific composition and performance for four voices and megaphones, using tidal data for the River Clyde and performed on Bell’s Bridge as part of Glasgow International.
Her work has been featured in The Wire magazine; BBC Radio 4’s The Echo Chamber, a series about new poetries; BBC Radio 3’s Composers’ Rooms, a series of conversations with composers in their workspaces; and BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. She studied at Glasgow School of Art’s Environmental Art department and graduated in 2006. She moved to Edinburgh in the autumn of 2014, where she lives with her partner and their books, near her studio at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, returning often to Glasgow, to play with her band Two Wings.
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“Hanna is an exceptional artist – her work is utterly original, searching and humane. She works fluidly across art forms, always seeking to expand the communicative possibilities and points of access to her projects. She brings her fierce and associative imagination to marginal cultural forms, vulnerable places, languages, and communities of practice, unearthing and reimagining stories of relevance and resonance in our troubled times.”
Ruth Little, Dramturg and Director of Cape Farewell
“A chance to hear the sky brought down to earth, absolutely stunning”
Tim Dee, BBC broadcaster
“Enchanting, beautiful and completely original”
Mark Cocker, author of ‘Crow Country’ and ‘Birds and People’
“Encapsulating the strength of Scotland’s spirit and sure sense of self.”
Janet Archer, Creative Scotland