OPTIMIZED! Expanded Radio Stream on WFMU!

OPTIMIZED! Expanded Radio Stream on WFMU 6-10 June 2016, Noon-3pm (EST)
Playlists & archives: http://wfmu.org/playlists/UP
Documentation: http://peoplelikeus.org/2016/optimized-wfmu/

From 6-10 June 2016 Vicki Bennett and John Kilduff were Artists in Residence at freeform radio station WFMU in Jersey City, NJ, USA.

NEW! Documentation Video:

This residency consisted of “Optimized!” – a week-long online a/v radio station which experimented with ideas of what radio might be in the world of high speed internet broadcasting.

The content included 26 new a/v artist commissions selected and programmed by Vicki Bennett, where people were invited to respond to the word “optimized”, John Kilduff’s live “Let’s Paint TV” daily video show which combines, painting, cooking and exercise, and an evening at the station with an in-house studio audience.

John Kilduff and Vicki Bennett Artist Residency – Expanded Radio at WFMU

optimized-schedule
Noon-2pm: 10 hours of new/exclusive recordings, radio & video by 26 participants. Programmed by Vicki Bennett / People Like Us
2pm-3pm: Daily video shows live from WFMU’s Monty Hall by John Kilduff / Let’s Paint TV – Mr Let’s Paint will take your calls! skype: letspaintwfmu
3pm-5pm: repeat of noon-2pm schedule
9 June 2016: A live expanded radio event at Monty Hall with Let’s Paint TV & People Like Us / DIFM (Do It For Me) with Pseu Braun

Pseu Braun DIFM (Do It For Me) at Monty Hall

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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

Full video: Notations with M.C.Schmidt, Jason Willett & People Like Us

Here’s a full length video of possibly the best performance of Notations so far.
This time around by Jason Willett, People Like Us & M.C.Schmidt
at Monty Hall, WFMU – 13 September 2014
View the rehearsal to this same show here: vimeo.com/peoplelikeus/montyrehearsal

NOTATIONS live at WFMU with M.C.Schmidt, Jason Willett, People Like Us
Notations is a film by Vicki Bennett, created for performance by live improvisers peoplelikeus.org/notations
Thanks to High Zero and WFMU, filmed by Peter Knight and Ruth Hayduk (thank you!)
M.C.Schmidt vague-terrain.com Jason Willett thetruevinerecordshop.com

Video of M.C. Schmidt, Jason Willett & People Like Us at Monty Hall

This is the rehearsal for our Notations performance at WFMU’s Monty Hall in Jersey City on 13 Sept 2014.

Thank you Martin and Jason for one of the best versions of Notations yet. And thank you WFMU for being the best place to play in the world.

More about Notations here: peoplelikeus.org/2013/notations/

(video edited on the Bolt Bus)

People Like Us, M.C.Schmidt & Jason Willett Live at WFMU

People Like Us, M.C.Schmidt (Matmos) and Jason Willett will perform at WFMU‘s own performance space at Monty Hall, New Jersey on 13 Sept 2014 at 8pm.  Tickets must be bought in advance to ensure entry:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/819123 – there should be some tickets on the door but you have been warned since they are selling well and it’s a small venue.

We’ve not decided the order of the evening but it will include People Like Us with Consequences (One Thing Leads To Another), and then a joint improv performance by all three artists to Notations.

montyhall

GESTURE PIECE – a film by Vicki Bennett

GESTURE PIECE (2013) by Vicki Bennett

A film by Vicki Bennett [2013]
Soundtracks by :
Andrew Sharpley [00:06] | Matmos [01:02] | Wobbly [05:08] | Gwilly Edmondez [07:48] | Dave Soldier [09:38] | Jason Willett [11:02] | Ergo Phizmiz [13:23]

More info at http://peoplelikeus.org/2013/gesture-piece/

Music For Films radio show on basicfm

RADIO SHOW
Music For Films with People Like Us
5pm-9pm (UK time), Thursday 5th September 2013
Online at basic.fm
http://www.basic.fm/radio/

If you missed the show you can download it here afterwards.
Here is the playlist as a pdf.

music for films

Music for Films radio show online Thursday 5th Sept from 5-9pm UK http://www.basic.fm/music-for-films-with-people-like-us

NOTATIONS – a film for live improvising musicians and artists


Notations performed by M.C. Schmidt, Jason Willett and People Like Us at Monty Hall, WFMU 2014

Part of the making of Gesture Piece

Part of the making of Notations

Notations UK Tour 2013 info here

ABOUT NOTATIONS

“Notations” is a film by Vicki Bennett for live performance by improvising musicians and artists.  It has been created using collected and edited found footage from hundreds of different films, where the content conceptually or literally portrays different kinds of ‘gestures’, ‘instructions’ and content that can then be interpreted by musicians and artists with unique audio accompaniments.  Notations contains edits of the movies and sounds from the source films, separated into ‘sketches’ or stories that segue into one another, and it exists with a list of instructions (score) on how artist(s) working with this choose to work with these particular elements.


Excerpt from “NOTATIONS” Live at Tectonics Festival 2013: “From A-B.”

Notations references the fact that it is very natural, even primordial for one to creatively respond to visual stimulus in an “improvised” (natural) way rather than all responses being directed, set in stone. Within human communication it is part of our hard circuitry that for instance we use hand gestures to articulate our speech, which is essentially graphically describing/enforcing audio or spoken discourse. Even when spoken language is not present, a whole series of hand and facial gestures are available to us to communicate expressions. By making a film that both contains human gestures (hands, facial, movement) as well as gestures made by natural and mechanical occurrences we are setting up the conditions for a dialogue between the graphical elements on the films and the improvisers, both with the film as well as with each other.


Documentation of Notations UK tour

Sections from Notations


Notations at InMute, Athens performed by Acte Vide

SCORE

When performed, the film is provided with a “score” (ie a list of instructions to be translated into sound) which consists of some basic instructions and a synopsis listing characteristics of the 9 different sketches featured in the film.  The sketches are as follows:

The film is made in 9 sketches with titles that roughly describe the content/concept/theme. The themes move and progress with many tangents, although there is continuity of concepts and the pace even and flowing. There is intermittent film sound throughout, and lots of silence. Hopefully the sound will be no more surprising than any other performer on the stage. The maximum audio volume should be set equal to each participant.

There will be no instructions to be found beyond what is in the film, no written score beyond this text. The film will be provided to the players at least 2 weeks before the performance date, and should be viewed several times well before performing. For each sketch different numbers and combinations of performers are recommended, either spontaneously or pre-determined. All players should meet to discuss this before performing, and rehearsals are at the discretion of the performers. 

Ultimately, whatever the film content suggests is what all should react to. – Vicki Bennett, May 2013

1. A Nod to Previous Players.
Majority of footage sourced from old avant-garde and comedy films featuring people playing cards and chess, also doing things at tables. Very little sound added to the film soundtrack.
2. From A-B.
Transport, trains, cars, carriages and things that move fast.  Some typewriting and conducting too.  This one is fast and also noisy in places!
3. Spin.
Lots of spinning, vertigo, circles and targets. Zooming into eyes. Camera shutters. Not too much incidental sound on the film apart from towards the end with a piano.
4. At Home.
Mainly footage shot in domestic environments – pans through people’s rooms, people eating and chopping food, ringing doorbells, broken appliances and acts of domestic destruction. Reel to reel tape recorders and record players. Fairly quiet, some incidental sounds with a few louder bursts at the end when woman finds a monster in her fridge.
5. Several Directions at Once.
Part 1 A conductor conducts traffic lights and traffic. Incidental sound from traffic, but not conductor’s music. Radio dial turns.  Hands waving, pointing and conjuring. Quiet to start with then bursts of sound around the time of the radio dial being turned.
Part 2 Lots of punching, slapping and violence with incidental sound, cut in with a little conducting and hand gestures, bending and stretching. Quite noisy. Ends with car crash and bowing conjuror.
6. Dark.
Hand movements signifying quiet/listening. Record player and film leaders flicker black and white. People in the dark with candles, thunder and lightning, lights on and off. Disconnection of power, suspense and fear. Incidental sound of storm.  People walking on wooden steps in the dark. Radio tuner and typewriters/printing machines. Quiet incidental sound apart from necessary bursts of weather/explosions.
7. Ups and Downs.
Record players, panning through people’s living rooms. Leisure – card playing and knitting. More panning and record playing.  Walking legs/feet through many films. Very quiet. Desert scene, people run down hill making a noise, there follow many scenes from westerns, woman stops train, buzzers pressed, men with bells, all incidental sounds for this section. More walking, people waiting behind doors, quiet, suspense, just footsteps and door handles. Door lock gets shot (very loud) and then follows a lot of scenes of people struggling in train/horse carriages, to the sound of a carriage then train stopping. Ends with car sinking into mud.
8. The Suspense is Killing Me.
Predator/victims leaning over/backing away or trapped. Retaliation, shooting. Walking. Snooker and more predators.  Opening of doors to different scary people, hiding. Child making horrible noise with a pencil on chalkboard. Doors and wall banging intercut with silence and suspense, listening at walls. More doors opening and suspense, hiding and running. Screaming and fear, silhouettes with bright lights. Power cuts, darkness intercut with conductor and man stuck in phone booth. More power cuts and screaming, general misery. Sleeping woman, man walks up the stairs away from her, looks around, she looks up. He walks away.
9. Nothing Happens.
Man walks down wooden stairs to men playing cards at a table. Intercut with other people staring at the screen or each other, no one does anything, they are just looking. Walking around wooden flooring, woman slams door, sits in silence, kicks floor and three people faint. LP rolls across floor, car runs over accordion. Birds fly up and down, mixed with dancing swimmers. Man sits and writes at a table, silently turning blank pages from different movies. Lots of panning over paper and big tables, mainly silent, man screams at faceless man. Lots more staring at one another, suspense, waiting. Nothing happens. Door opens to man in fez, everyone screams. More staring and suspense. Still nothing happens. Gust of wind, Harpo plays flute through window and scares all the ladies. More predators with weapons, people run away, roll credits.

(The 30-minute version of the film excludes parts 7 & 9)

Download a pdf of the score here:
Full-NOTATIONS-score-by-Vicki-Bennett
NOTATIONS-score-30min-by-Vicki-Bennett


Notations at Cafe Oto performed by Jaap Blonk and Philip Jeck

_______________________________

TECTONICS - Performers: Skúli Sverrisson, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Hlynur Aðils.

TECTONICS, REYKJAVIK – Performers: Skúli Sverrisson, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Hlynur Aðils.

LIVE PERFORMANCES SO FAR

20 April 2013 (with the working title of Gesture Piece*) Tectonics Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland
Performers: Skúli Sverrisson, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Hlynur Aðils.
8 June 2013 (with the working title of Gesture Piece*) Tectonics Festival, Tel Aviv
Performers: Alex Drool, Assif Tsahar, Robbie Avenaim, Christoph Heemann, Eyvind Kang and Jessika Kenney.
10 June 2013 (with the working title of Gesture Piece*) Uganda, Jerusalem
Performers: Eyvind Kang, Jessika Kenney, Robbie Avenaim, Christoph Heemann and special guests
November 2013 Various locations in the UK, produced by Tusk and commissioned by Sound and Musichttp://peoplelikeus.org/2013/notations-tour/
Here is a travelogue from the UK Tour, November 2013
September 2014 WFMU Monty Hall, NJ, performed by M.C.Schmidt and Jason Willett
September 2014 High Zero, Baltimore, performed by Bob Wagner (drums), LaDonna Smith (violin), Jenny Gräf (electronics, guitar)
October 2014 In Mute Festival, Athens Onassis Cultural Centre performed by the duo Acte Vide.

NOTATIONS UK Tour 2013 Travelogue

* Please note – Gesture Piece is now a separate project, an online film with 7 artist soundtracks.  We needed to change the name as the project split into two parts.

Eyvind Kang, Jessika Kenney, Robbie Avenaim and Christoph Heemann perform Gesture Piece

Eyvind Kang, Jessika Kenney, Robbie Avenaim and Christoph Heemann perform Notations

HISTORY OF GESTURE AND CARD-BASED WORKS

There is a tradition in experimental music of musicians responding to graphic scores and non-conductor-led direction.  John Cage wrote scores that both directed the performer on what elements/structures needed to be used/responded to, but at the same time introduced chance elements based around personal interpretation and the use of random prediction techniques like the iChing.  In the past 25 years some contemporary artist-composers have used prompts as guidelines for musical interpretations, following John Cage’s tradition.

Examples of alternative methods of conducting:

John Oswald “Rien Ne Va Plus” uses a roulette and coloured cards to prompt an orchestra to play certain tunes.  Christian Marclay’s “Shuffle” uses a pack of cards containing his own photographs of various depictions of musical scores which improvising musicians then respond to live.  In Marclay’s “Zoom Zoom”, the performer interprets his projected images of everyday objects with graphics contained within them.  John Zorn index card/file-card composition pieces include “Cobra” and “The Big Gundown”: combining composition and improvisation in which Zorn would write down a description of what he wanted on file-cards and arrange them to form the piece.  Zorn compiled his various thoughts regarding his subject on index cards, and then arranged those into a working roadmap for his band of improvisers.  He described the process in 2003: “I write in moments, in disparate sound blocks, so I find it convenient to store these events on filing cards so they can be sorted and ordered with minimum effort. Pacing is essential. If you move too fast, people tend to stop hearing the individual moments as complete in themselves and more as elements of a sort of cloud effect…”.

TECTONICS, REYKJAVIK – Performers: Skúli Sverrisson, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Hlynur Aðils.

GESTURE PIECE – a film with a score by 7 artists

A film by Vicki Bennett [2013]
Soundtracks by :
Andrew Sharpley [00:06] | Matmos [01:02] | Wobbly [05:08] | Gwilly Edmondez [07:48] | Dave Soldier [09:38] | Jason Willett [11:02] | Ergo Phizmiz [13:23]

Gwilly Edmondez, Matmos, Ergo Phizmiz, Andrew Sharpley, Dave Soldier, Jason Willett and Wobbly each composed a score for a chapter of GESTURE PIECE, without any knowledge of who else was collaborating on the project or what the rest of the film would look or sound like.

The completed film stitches back together the seven chapters with their individual soundtracks, creating new connections between apparently unrelated film sequences. The result is a fascinating and witty reinterpretation of familiar film footage, with scenes arranged in surprising and often very funny combinations.

The title of “Gesture Piece” is partly self-explanatory – within human communication it is part of our hard circuitry that for instance we use hand gestures to articulate our speech, which is essentially graphically describing/enforcing audio or spoken discourse. Even when spoken language is not present, a whole series of hand and facial gestures are available to us to communicate expressions. By making a film that both contains human gestures (hands, facial, movement) as well as gestures made by natural and mechanical occurrences we are setting up the conditions for a dialogue between the graphical elements on the films and the improvisers, both with the film as well as with each other.

Background info
Gesture Piece @Tyneside Cinema
Review in This Is Tomorrow Magazine
Interview with a-n Magazine
Interview with SyncTank
Interview with Dominic Smith

Screenings
October 2014 – Other Cinema, San Francisco
October 2013 – Gesture Piece at High Zero Festival, Baltimore

Click on thumbnails to download stills:
GESTURE PIECE-2GESTURE PIECE-5GESTURE PIECE-3

Diagram of subjects - created in the development of the film by Vicki Bennett

Diagram of subjects – created in the development of the film by Vicki Bennett

Still from Gesture Piece by Vicki Bennett

Still from Gesture Piece by Vicki Bennett

Gesture Piece has a sister project, Notations – a film created for live performance by selected improvising musicians and artists.  When these two projects began, they shared the same umbrella name of Gesture Piece (the live performance was tested at Tectonics Festival in Reykjavik and Tel Aviv), but as the work developed it felt natural to separate them out into different names as they became two unique and separate entities.

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