Make Space: Hanna Tuulikki

Posted on Sep 25, 2017

Make Space was a three year programme run by Nic Green and Artsadmin from 2013-2015, developed to offer young artists the opportunity to explore site-responsive performance practices. Over the three years, the project was based at Hackney City Farm, Richmond Yacht Club (Eel Pie Island) and Totteridge Cricket Ground consecutively, with each group spending a month exploring the collaborative potential between themselves, each other and their chosen site.

This weekly series will feature reflections, artistic responses and critical writing inspired by the project, exploring the potentials of ‘place’ and rejecting the pressures of ‘productivity.’ The authors of each blog all attended the Make Space Symposium in 2016, either as a participant or as a contributing artist: 

  • 'Away with the Birds | At Sing Two Birds | Mnemonic topographies | Women of the Hill' by Hanna Tuulikki
  • 'Performance As Currency For The Wild' by Rebecca Leach
  • 'A Naturally Occurring Psychology' by David Key
  • 'Making Conversation' by Ayisha De Lanerolle
  • 'Feeling Our Way Into The Practice (Of Doing)' by Simone Kenyon
  • Make Space participant reflections
About Hanna Tuulikki

Artist, composer and performer Hanna Tuulikki works across a range of media and forms. She specialises in composing for and with the voice, creating textural tapestries of extended vocal sound that sit at the heart of live performances, films and audiovisual installations. Blending musical composition with gestural choreography and iconic costume, she augments the work with ‘satellite elements’ – innovative visual-scores, intricate drawings, and poetic texts – which act as dramaturgical keys, unlocking subject-matter or narrative.

Hanna Tuulikki: Away with the Birds | Air falbh leis na h-eòin

extract from vocal score 

sing the waves:


                                   u-bhil u-bhil                    u-bhil u-bhil
u-bhil u-bhil                  u-bhil u-bhil                     u-bhil u-bhil
                         u-bhil u-bhil                     u-bhil u-bhil
                         u-bhil u-bhil                     u-bhil u-bhil
                                                            u-bhil u-bhil
                                                            u-bhil u-bhil
                                   oo-vil oo-vil                    oo-vil oo-vil
oo-vil oo-vil                  oo-vil oo-vil                     oo-vil oo-vil
                         oo-vil oo-vil                     oo-vil oo-vil
                         oo-vil oo-vil                     oo-vil oo-vil
                                                            oo-vil oo-vil
                                                            oo-vil oo-vil

sing the rise, the soar, the swoop and fall:
uuuuu↓uuuuuuuu-bhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiil            uuuuuuuuuu↓uuuuuuuu-bhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiil
                        uuuuuuuuuu↓uuuuuu-bhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiil                          uuu↓uuuuuu-bhiiiiiiil
        uuuu↓uuuuuu-bhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiil           uuuuuu↓uuuu-bhiiiiiiiiiiil

sing the flocking gulls:

                iteagan  iteagan                   iteagan  iteagan
  iteagan  iteagan                   iteagan  iteagan
iteagan  iteagan       iteagan  iteagan
feathers feathers        feathers feathers
  feathers feathers       feathers feathers
                feathers feathers                    feathers feathers

At Sing Two Birds

blackbird blackbird the cuckoo will you come? will you come? ’s a pretty bird she sings as she flies golden beak she brings us golden beak good tidings coat 'o black coat 'o black and tells us no lies weary waiting she sucks the little birds eggs weary waiting to keep her voice clear blackbird blackbird and when she sings cuckoo blackbird the summer come quickly draws near come quickly as I walked down by the blackbird side of a bush blackbird I heard two long days birds whistling long days the blackbird and the thrush I asked them dusk darkens the reason dusk darkens so merry they be and the answer weary waiting they gave me weary waiting is we are single blackbird blackbird and we are free blackbird

mnemonic topographies

the land encoded in the song
the lore embedded in the land

song came before words
song goes beyond words

the origins of song
lies within listening

within mimesis
excavate and reveal the continuum of

in the land
be present
in the song

Women of the Hill

extract from dream diary

It was a hot sunny day, when I first went inside the cave. As I clambered down in my wellies, the light soon disappeared into cool dark damp. Water coursed loudly along the channel, and wet stalactites glistened in the light from my torch. I shuffled along, through the limestone passage, which opened out into chambers and a womb like space, where I sat for what must have been about an hour and a half, singing occasionally and listening to the intense rush of the stream. Leaving the cave was a striking sensory experience, emerging back out into bright sunlight. That night, I had a dream: I was inside a tall stone-shelved library, filled with old dusty books, and I was flying up through the space. Gradually the library opened out into a forest and I flew through the branches until I was soaring above the trees. It was very powerful and when I woke, I was left with the impression that the library was representative of the cave. Later, I realised that the dream was a kind of invitation to read and interpret the living library of tradition that had been buried beneath the green of High Pasture, of the cave and the significant surrounding landscape.


Artistic references:

Away with the Birds | Air falbh leis na h-eòin is a multidisciplinary project, exploring the mimesis of birds in Scottish Gaelic song. Featuring a vocal composition for ten female vocalists, it was performed along the shoreline on the Isle of Canna in 2014.

At Sing Two Birds is a study for solo voice study for solo voice, composed from the weaving together of two English traditional songs that are mimetic of birds: ‘the cuckoo’ and ‘the blackbird’.

Mnemonic topographies is a place-responsive creative process.            

Women of the Hill is a site-specific song-cycle for three female performers, responding to the archaeology and topography of High Pasture Cave, an iron-age sacred site on the Isle of Skye, dedicated to a matriarchal culture.

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