Hanna Tuulikki

SING SIGN: a close duet

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About this artwork

SING SIGN: a close duet is the first video installation by the artist, originally commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival for their 2015 programme The Improbable City. Although it was made in direct response to the history and geography of the narrow closes that run from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, the work touches on universal themes regarding the passing of time and human interaction. Two performers face each other from opposing video monitors and engage in a wordless duet, using vocal sounds and gestures drawn from British Sign Language. The structure for the musical composition is derived from a 1765 map featuring the Royal Mile, turning the city itself into a musical score. Using its design as a rubric, Tuulikki settled on the hocket form, a musical device used since the thirteenth century in which a single melody is shared by two voices. The work is divided into four movements, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande and Gigue, named after the traditional Baroque Dance Suite. The synchronized signing translates the names of several historic closes, chosen by the artist due to the similarity in patterns used to make these signs. The enigmatic encounter of ‘singing’ and ‘signing’ poses a fundamental question about how the languages we have access to condition our experience of the world and of each other. The artwork was shortlisted for British Composer Award 2016 (Sonic Arts Category).

Published April 2021

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Hanna Tuulikki

Hanna Tuulikki

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