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(2016) film

Hanna Tuulikki’s cloud-cuckoo-island is a solo performance-to-camera vocal improvisation, exploring madness and mythology, trauma and psychology, in relation to ‘wildness’ and ‘wilderness’.

Buile Sweeney – Sweeney’s Madness tells the tale of the Irish King who, cursed by a saint, became deranged in battle and levitated, bearing his trauma off to the wilds, wandering bird-like, leaping from place to place, sleeping in thorn trees. According to Seamus Heaney’s translation, he sheltered for six weeks in Donnan’s cave, on the Isle of Eigg.

On Eigg, at a cliff that encircles the lochainn known as ‘The Giant’s Footstep’, Tuulikki performs an absurd ode to Sweeney. In the guise of this wandering bird-man ‘gone cuckoo’, she sings his wordless call, her high pitch voice strangely at odds with her mossy beard, her nonsensical song appearing trapped within a manic cycle. The grass-covered rocks echo the human voice, bouncing back sound and feeling. Sonic repetitions punch through the air, peeling back layers of emotion. What begins as preposterous comedy, slowly morphs into vulnerability and grief, haunting the natural amphitheatre with an empathetic song of personal and political protest.

The film was first shown at Chapter Two: Of Other Spaces: Where Does Gesture Become Event? Cooper Gallery, DJCAD, Dundee, 2017

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