From an inner pulse to a macrocosmic quake, Judith Hamann brings her cello into shaking, bringing out unusual, multi-layered compositions.
Composer/performer born in Narrm, Melbourne, and currently based in Berlin. Described as an “extraordinary Australian cellist” (The Guardian), and as a composer who “destroys the fiction of the musician who lives and works outside conventional parameters and puts in its place a series of compositions that are fundamentally humane” (The Wire), their work encompasses performance, electro-acoustic composition, site specific generative work, and micro-tonal systems in a process based creative practice. In recent research, they examine the acts of shaking and humming as formal and intimate encounters; interrogates ‘collapse’ as a generative imaginary surface; and considers the ‘de-mastering’ of bodies, both human and non-human, in settler-colonial heritage instrumental practice and pedagogy.
The artist has performed widely with festivals including Tectonics, Unsound New York, Sonic Acts, Maerzmusik, CTM, the Venice Biennale Musica, Tokyo Experimental Festival and AURAL. They enjoy thinking and working with other artists which includes people like Marja Ahti, Joshua Bonnetta, Pascale Criton, Charles Curtis, Sarah Hennies, Yvette Janine Jackson, and Anike Joyce Sadiq. The musician’s work has previously been published by labels including Blank Forms, Black Truffle, Another Timbre, and Longform Editions. Judith holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from UC San Diego.
Shaking Studies, is a collection of iterative cello performance that foregrounds shaking as a generative subject. In addition to an arsenal of techniques for registrable shaking, Judith conception of the term emphasizes micro and macro pulsing, including tremors, vibrato, wolf tones, and complex partial activity. From inner pulse to more macrocosmic quaking, Hamann’s alternative conception of shaking rejects measurement and regularity, order and control, instead alluding to a more responsive and intuitive mode of convulsive sounding.
In this process driven performance, Judith also draws on ideas from Édouard Glissant’s ‘trembling thinking,’ and Henri Lefebvre’s concept of rhythmanalysis. Considering rhythm’s possibility and function beyond merely divisions in time, but that pulse, vibration, cycles, could be reframed as not only a sounding object, but also a sounding subject, that these materials may be extended outwards, to reveal something about our environment, and ourselves. What if shaking then, which in itself is a kind of rhythm, could be considered a subject? An agent or investigator? What could shaking then reveal or tell us about matter, material, relational instrumental performance, and even self?
Created between 1963 and 1967, Treatise is a graphic musical score consisting of 193 pages of lines, symbols and a variety of geometric shapes. This monumental work by Cornelius Cardew is an introspective journey into the nature of time and rhythm, inspired by Wittgenstein's concept of Tractatus logico-philosophicus.
Just as the philosopher explored the limits of language and its relationship to reality, Treatise becomes a kind of 'treatise of sound', provoking reflection on our perception of time and rhythm. In Treatise, time ceases to be merely a linear sequence of events, becoming a dense network of relations and experiences, just as in Wittgenstein's philosophy, where meanings are formed in context. This non-linear perception of time is reflected in abstract symbols and shapes that remind us of the relational nature of reality.
Treatise provokes interpretation and exploration of sound, just as Wittgenstein provoked reflection on language. Like language, which reflects our perception of the world, rhythm in Treatise manifests itself as a fundamental element of human existence, providing a starting point for introspection on existence and the meaning of life.