Welcome to the only official site for People Like Us and Vicki Bennett
Since 1991 British artist Vicki Bennett has been working across the field of audio-visual collage, and is recognised as an influential and pioneering figure in the still growing area of sampling, appropriation and cutting up of found footage and archives. Working under the name People Like Us, Vicki specialises in the manipulation and reworking of original sources from both the experimental and popular worlds of music, film and radio. People Like Us believe in open access to archives for creative use. In 2006 she was the first artist to be given unrestricted access to the entire BBC Archive. People Like Us have previously shown work at, amongst others, Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, The Barbican, Centro de Cultura Digital, Maxxi and Sonar, and performed radio sessions for John Peel and Mixing It. She has an ongoing sound art radio show 'DO or DIY' on WFMU. The People Like Us back catalogue is available for free download hosted by UbuWeb. Nothing Can Turn Into A Void – a doc film about People Like Us has been screening in cinemas and festivals since Autumn 2015.
Currently, Vicki is focussing on expanding a/v work for a multiscreen and multi-speakered environment with RML Cinechamber, with 10-screen work "Gone, Gone Beyond". Also a new People Like Us live performance "The Mirror" premiered at Onassis Cultural Centre Athens in Spring 2018 and now tours worldwide. October 2018 saw the release of a new CD/online album also called The Mirror. Vicki is a participant in Sound and Music New Voices 2018 programme, a-n Artist Bursaries 2019 recipient, and will be Hallwalls Artist in Residence from 2019-2020.
Join People Like Us for an hour of audiovisual entertainment, edited specially for Ken Freedman’s radio show on WFMU. You can listen to this at home or in the… you can listen to it, er, at home… and you can watch it too!
Come and watch People Like Us and friends on Ken’s playlist pageand on the WFMU front page just before 11am NY time on Wednesday 8 April 2020. Ideally we recommend listening to his whole show of course from 9am!
Vicki will co-host with Hearty White in the WFMU 2020 Fundraising Marathon. Many of you will know about WFMU already – this is a listener funded radio station where none of the DJs are paid – all give time in kind with a capital K. These days it’s a rare thing to see ventures like this, many have been stamped on by the big boot of capitalism. If you are able to donate to WFMU you can both get some great swag and also be in the running for all sorts of DJ prizes and premiums.
Documented below, both the Q&A and performance – the event moved to Radius Gallery at the last minute due to a mass power outage in Santa Cruz:
We Edit Life: An Evening with People Like Us
We Edit Life is an evening of film screenings by People Like Us including the premiere live-score performance of Notations by Blectum from Blechdom. Atheatrical screening ofThe Mirror, a feat of research and craft, this new work is a spellbinding inquiry into editing and juxtaposition, a collage one can unthread allowing the viewer to discover hidden stories through familiar images. The soundtrack is made up from hundreds of preexisting songs, as well as particular sounds from the original film clips. This 35 minute screening will be followed by an artist Q&A.
A live performance of Notations, a film for improvising musicians and artists, Notations has been created by Vicki from hundreds of different film clips, where the content conceptually or literally portrays different kinds of ‘gestures’ or ‘instructions’ to be read by the improvising artists on stage as a visual score.
Notations has been performed in the past by an impressive international cast of improvisers, each with radically different approaches and, as each show features a different combination of artists, every performance is completely unique. This time around the performers with the film will be Kristin Erickson and Bevin Kelley, aka electronic music duo Blectum from Blechdom.
People Like Us will be on the same performance bill as Negativland for the first time in 22 years at London’s Cafe Oto on 27 October 2019, performing The Horror!! An a/v concert which selects from the more scary (and funny) segments of Vicki’s work, newest and old. Also on the bill the following night will be our friend Irene Moon. https://www.cafeoto.co.uk/events/baba-yagas-hut-presents-negativland/ (update – 27th has sold out, tickets still available for the 28th, no PLU, but Irene Moon instead)
Stage times : Doors 7:30 Yuko – 7:50 – 8:20 People Like Us (27th) / Irene Moon (28th) – 8:40 – 9:10 Negativland – 9:30 – 10:50
15 September 2019, 7pm at 21C Museum Hotel, Lexington, Kentucky The Mirror will screen in it’s theatrical form (ie a stand alone movie, not performance) in Lexington, KY, and although we will not be present our good friend Hearty White will be there to introduce the film. facebook event
DO or DIYwith People Like Us will return to the airwaves for 3 hours on Wednesday 19 June from 9am-Noon (NY Time) ((which is 2pm-5pm in London)). This will be filling in for Station Manager Ken. You can tune in online and on the air (if local to New York) and follow a live playlists and comments through the front page here: http://wfmu.org
Daniel Menche is an abstract sound artist from Portland, Oregon. He says of his music that its “…intent is to destroy all rationalized thought processes to make room for the emotional and sensual impulses to take over… The greater the intent, the greater the intensity, and intensity is based upon the blood rising in speed and heat through our bodies.”
Culture Lab, Grand Assembly Rooms, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne Friday 14 June 2019 from 19:00-23:00 Admission £FREE. There is no bar. But there is an off license nearby.
People Like Us will perform The Mirror at Culture Lab in Newcastle on 14 June 2019. It will be part of a bill of collage related work including the public premiere of a new film for improvising musicians and artists titled Objects In The Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear with a live score by participants in two Wild Cinema workshops that will take place on Thursday 13th June (5-7pm) and Friday 14th June (12-2pm). If you want to take part in the workshops and the performance please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Details of the workshops can be found below. The concert programme also features Competition, Nellie Saunby and People Like Us performing their current live set ‘Mirror’.
Wild Cinema is a new Wild Pop spin-off that proposes the idea of staging screenings in informal and unconventional settings (anywhere other than a cinema, basically) where people are invited to make bespoke videos for (other) people to improvise live scores (musical and/or non-) to. Wild Cinema is being launched with two 2-hour ‘workshops’ (actually onsite dry-runs with discussion) at Newcastle University which will be led by Vicki Bennett (People Like Us), benefitting from Vicki’s long-standing experience working with scoring (pre-recorded and improvised) films made to be experienced as music/film with neither leading the other in terms of concept or practical application.
This event page is thus also a call for participants in the workshops. Please contact by email to email@example.com if you want to take part.
Participants can either take part by making a 5-minute film or by being part of an ad hoc group that improvises the music to a 5-minute film someone else has made (or both, or all).
People taking part in the workshop will then improvise a score to the film of ‘Objects In The Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear’ ‘blind’ as part of the evening concert programme.
This event is supported by the Newcastle Institute for Creative Arts Practice.
“Hey, hey, have you ever tried… reaching out to the other side?”
Gone, Gone Beyond is an immersive a/v spatial cinema work by People Like Us, which breaks the rectangle, smashing the thin screen into tiny fragments, looking beyond the frame, climbing through to see what’s behind.
Commissioned by Naut Humon, the founder of immersive theatre project CineChamber, Gone, Gone Beyond is a 10 screen/8 speaker work by Vicki Bennett with seamless wrap around projection and surround sound, where the audience sit inside. It uses edited collage sewn together in a giant patchwork. Pull on a thread and watch whole new narratives expand and unravel all at once on a 360 palette. The project has been a work in progress since 2017, and is currently 50 minutes long.
History: the initial in-process tester movie screened in San Francisco in October 2017 at RML’s own Recombinant Festivalat Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. Since then we have been continuing to work on content, and staged a private event in April 2019 at Goldsmiths SIML to encourage some partner support in the UK/Europe.
Review of private preview of Gone, Gone Beyond at Goldsmiths, London:
Privileged to attend an absolutely marvellous event at Goldsmiths College, a unique piece of immersive 360 degree cinema put together principally by People Like Us aka Vicki Bennett. It builds on her previous work, juxtaposing familiar film and music to unsettling effect; one such instance is a visual/soundclash of Julie Andrews singing “The hills are alive . . .” spliced with footage from Apocalypse Now and The Doors’ “The End”. But the audio and imagery builds layer upon layer to a meaningful, psychedelic cacophony, layer upon layer of the familiar; MOR, The Beatles, Kraftwerk and much, much more over an elaborate, kaleidoscopic sensurround collage of footage featuring the likes of Orson Welles, Cary Grant, Charlie Chaplin, Sean Connery, Audrey Hepburn, as well as dancers, dervish sequences and set pieces from avant garde-inspired Hollywood design.
The familiar and the unsettling; that’s the idea. Taking these film clips out of their original contexts, presenting them as part of a gushing continuum of dynamism, breakthrough, without resolution; because, in life, there is no resolution, no end to the story, simply this multiple, simultaneist mass of concurrent narratives, whose sheer kinetic energy, like an ever-flowing waterfall, is the real story that cinema is telling us; “endings” are mere temporary hiatuses, the definition of fiction; this is a meticulous, deceptively chaotic audiovisual blast like no other. And it deserves to be seen by everyone. — David Stubbs (April 2019)