NOTHING CAN TURN INTO A VOID to screen at Fylkingen, Stockholm

Nothing Can Turn Into A Void, the doc film about People Like Us will screen in Stockholm, Sweden on 26 November at 7pm
Fylkingen, Torkel Knutssonsgatan 2, 118 25 Stockholm, Sweden
Two films by Carl Abrahamsson. TRAPART FILM, Sverige 2015.
Introduced by Carl Abrahamsson
Entrance: 100/80 kr (medlemmar & studerande)

British artist Vicki Bennett takes you on a roller coaster-ride with her art project People Like Us. In performances, videos, collages and music, her amazing editing techniques and sense of humor leave you flabbergasted and enthusiastic at the same time. People Like Us is like free-zone where appropriation meets alchemy, humor meets social critique and the boundless imagination meets reality (so called).
58 mins. A film by Carl Abrahamsson, Sweden, 2015.

American photographer Charles Gatewood started out in the 1960s as a young man with dreams of showing the world the radical cultural developments that were going on in his country. He met many of the iconic instigators of change and documented them for posterity. As the decades passed, Gatewood drifted more and more into a personal expression of sexual subcultures, both in America and abroad. His powerful photos of pioneers within the tattooing- and piercing scenes helped pave the way for the movement that was to be called “Modern Primitives”. It’s a classic example of when art, and in this example, specifically photography, merges with its general environment and takes on new forms that are impossible to stop. Or, as the San Francisco based photographer himself describes it: “Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can’t put it back”.
58 mins. A film by Carl Abrahamsson, Sweden, 2015.

Don Joyce, People Like Us, Wobbly, Wetgate Live at Cell Space, San Francisco, 1998

Yes, the date there is correct. Just found this video, courtesy of Doug Wellman of Puzzling EvidenceSuperstars of sample People Like Us, Wobbly, and C. Elliot Friday (Don Joyce) of Negativland join forces with projectionists Wetgate to layer lightly at the Cell Space one fine spring night to discern “what’s music?”…

Over The Wobbly Wetgate People Like on April 9 1998 from Puzzling Evidence on Vimeo.

Citation City at Encounters Short Film Festival


18 September 2015

21:45 – 23:45
£5 / £4.50 CONC.

Join us for the performance of Citation City – a time-travelling voyage through one city, assembled from hundreds of movie clips and inspired by the wanderings of Walter Benjamin.

People Like Us’ ‘Citation City’ sources, collage and edits 300 major feature films where content is either filmed or set in London – creating a story within a story, of the film world, living its life, through extraordinary times of change, to see what happens when these multiple narratives are combined… what will the story tell us that one story alone could never tell?

Prior to this performance we will be screening a series of clips using the art of collage selected by People Like Us, from filmmakers including Bryce Kretschmann and John Oswald.

A Tribute to Don Joyce

Don't Say Hello

Don’t Say Hello

Don Joyce (Negativland, Over The Edge) has merged with the radio waves.  Don was a close friend and amazing artist.  His influence on the work of People Like Us is beyond measure.  Here is a wonderful piece accurately conveying many of my own experiences, written by Jon Leidecker, who I also first met through Don. 

Don Joyce lived in a second story flat off Telegraph Avenue in what is now the thoroughly gentrified Temescal district in Oakland, but when I visited the Negativland home studio for the first time in July of 1987, after nightfall you had to watch yourself on the way from your car to the front door. I was there to drop off source materials and discuss the theme for the coming week’s episode of Over The Edge, which, after two years of avid fandom, I had finally been invited to play. Don still had his programming day job at that point, and I discovered him in his room tinkering with the GUI for a primitive typing tutor program on his Mac SE with his left hand, while his right hand hovered near the pause button on a cassette deck recording KGO talk radio. Occasionally, while talking to me and coding with one hand, he’d unpause or repause the recording with the other, seemingly randomly. But I soon realized he was precisely waiting for silences between the host and his callers, and making sure host and callers still alternated in sequence. The resulting tape would still sound as if it were a conversation; it just wouldn’t be even remotely close to the one that had actually happened.

This approach to multi-tasking wouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone who’s heard Over The Edge, which I’d randomly channel surfed into at 12:30 in the morning two years before; at first I’d assumed I’d hit one of those magic nodes on the analog dial where two stations were coming in clearly at the same time, and paused to enjoy the accident. The slow rush of recognition came on over the next twenty seconds as I realized it was actually five to ten things at once: talk radio recordings and advertisements cut in with each other and twisted into dialogues, all while loosely played guitars and keyboards mingled with fragments of pop and soundtrack albums. And only when the sound of a disconnecting line terminated the guitar riff did I make that final connection: a number of the lower fidelity instruments and tapes were being contributed by live phone callers. I stayed up until the show ended at three, that night and many nights to come.

My nascent record collection had already skewed electronic by that point in my young life — the most interesting music, by definition, seemed to be something that could only be composed within in the confines of a studio. Live music seemed a pale shadow, far removed from where the action really was — what was live music even supposed to sound like at this point in history? A museum, or a card trick depended on canned backing tracks? The answer was suddenly obvious — you make music, live, out of pre-recordings, treating no one source as final, hearing any single moment of sound not as a fixed object but rather as the potential for another moment of live music. Every playback is already an act of live music, but the show made this obvious through the example of getting involved. This show was the moment when I stopped relating to music as the sum total of my record collection and I began relating to it as something that could be made in real time by people: Don, every week, sometimes joined by Negativland, Fake Stone Age, King’s House, Ronald Redball, Babs Bendix, People Like Us, and an endless cast of receptacle callers: Sasquatch, Mr. Oogie, Rocky, Phineas Narco, Metallurgy, Suicide Man.

I never got around to formally studying music; there was only playing on the show. All the instruction you need is right there in your studio headphones. The radio audience remains hypothetical, but you knew by definition the right people were listening; anyone else had the option of tuning out. Going back to the tapes, I know how exactly annoying I was as a teenager, but Don never assumed the role of a mentor, he just chimed in with what he knew. There’d usually be a smoke break around 1:45am with the occasional golden aside: “The trick is to keep coming up with new ways to make mistakes! It gets harder and harder to keep yourself confused enough to make anything worth listening to the next day.” Or: “Never confuse satisfaction with success! That first hour was way too much fun to be listenable.” Sure enough.

His life was pretty much his work. By the early 90s, the day job had been jettisoned, and the show became a full time job that nothing else could compete with. There was the occasional relationship with an amazing woman, but that was not going to be the path. Even food; I think he timed his grocery shopping to happen on the drive back from KPFA to minimize the number of hours away from his equipment. I’d play the show a certain number of times a year, and shared some wonderful concerts with him over the years; always surreal to spend time with the guy in a public setting. But most of my most personal memories of him are also strangely public; I’ve got them on cassette. And this is not the time to sum them up. The size of the archive is overwhelming, but any given 60 seconds shows you the practice, makes available an inspiration to anyone who needs one. It’s harder to describe the show now in the age of the internet; we can open twelve browsers at a time but we seldom use them to live our lives as a work of art in the way that he proved any one of us can.

don broadcasting on ote

Continue reading

Update: An Art Apart

NOTHING CAN TURN INTO A VOID – an hour-long doc film about People Like Us is now finished.  If you are a festival or event organiser and wish to screen this film please get in touch with the creator Carl Abrahamsson direct by contacting jakob AT or carl AT  If you have previously booked People Like Us for a concert and are interested, please get in touch with us direct through our Contact page.

British artist Vicki Bennett’s work within the project called “People Like Us” takes you on a journey into a world where literally anything can happen. Using her skills as an editor and a great sense of humor, she lets you roam through a world of imagination filled with contrasts and chance encounters between the past and the present. In performances, video work, music and collages, Bennett conveys that nothing is really what it seems. For more information, please visit: Trapart Film

screen shot from An Art Apart

People Like Us on BBC Radio 4 Cut Up show

Author and Wire contributor Ken Hollings has produced a show for BBC Radio 4 on William Burroughs’s cut ups. The show traces the history of the cut up, from its roots in the Dadaist movement through Burroughs and Brion Gysin, to tape splicing and digital editing, looking at the cut up as a satirical device.

The show “Cutting Up The Cut Up” includes interviews with Armando Iannucci, Cassetteboy, Kevin Foakes (aka DJ Food), Vicki Bennett and others. It will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 25 June at 11:30am.

‘Cutcast Up-pod’ – featuring additional material from Chris Morris and Negativland – is available here.

Burroughs_by_Gysinradio times


CCCitations – a Citation City project

CCCitations is an offshoot of Citation City, an audiovisual performance by People Like Us.

Four artists, Jon Leidecker, Jason Willett, Gwilly Edmondez and Andrew Sharpley were given source material from Vicki Bennett’s Citation City a/v project and asked to make new work, interpreting the footage in a unique way.

Soundtrack: Gwilly Edmondez 00:01
Soundtrack: Jason Willett 02:47
Soundtrack: Jon Leidecker 05:23
Film: Vicki Bennett

Film and Video: Andrew Sharpley – using source material given by Vicki Bennett

About Citation City

Citation City sources, collage and edits 300 major feature films where content is either filmed or set in London – creating a story within a story, of the film world, living its life, through extraordinary times of change, to see what happens when these multiple narratives are combined… what will the story tell us that one story alone could never tell?

Inspired by The Arcades Project by Walter Benjamin, this audiovisual work is created from 1000s of clippings of text and visual media, collaged using a system of “convolutes”, collated around subjects of key motifs, historical figures, social types, cultural objects from the time. By gathering and assembling such groups of similar yet unrelated, he revealed a hidden, magical encyclopaedia of affinities, a massive and labyrinthine architecture of a collective dream city. On reading Benjamin, his approach to editing astonished Vicki Bennett, and the similarity of their creative processes of cutting and collating extensive lists of subject matter by context.

In the live performance a series of story lines (convolutes) sit side by side with a soundtrack sourced both from the movie content, as well as new sample compositions thematically related to the visual content.

The result is a sweeping panorama of London, a London as represented through cinema – not the real city at all, but one that exists in the collective imagination of moviegoers throughout the decades. Filmmaker Magazine