BIOGRAPHY

Under the name “People Like Us,” artist Vicki Bennett has been making work available via CD, DVD and vinyl releases, radio broadcasts, concert appearances, gallery exhibits and online streaming and distribution for 25 years. Since her first publication in 1992, Bennett has developed an immediately recognisable aesthetic repurposing pre-existing footage to craft audio and video collages with an equally dark and witty take on popular culture. She sees sampling and appropriation as folk art sourced from the palette of contemporary media and technology, with all of the sharing and cross-referencing incumbent to a populist form. Embedded in her work is the premise that all is interconnected and that claiming ownership of an “original” or isolated concept is both preposterous and redundant.

Most of the People Like Us back catalogue has been available for free online since 2002. For many artists, profit and publicity is more likely through free distribution (the gift economy) than independent record labels, which often struggle with limited resources. Online self-distribution allows an artist to keep their work available, resolving a tension between label production costs and the desire of an artist for work to be available.  UbuWeb generously hosts the discography and filmography of People Like Us.

As a solo artist or collaborator she has published more than 50 audio recordings and 35 video projects, with works released by labels including Illegal Art, Rough Trade, Soleilmoon, Sonic Arts Network and Touch. Vicki’s DO or DIY show on the fiercely independent New York City-market radio station WFMU has run since 2003 and has had over a million individual “listen again” downloads. Her video work has been screened at Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, the National Film Theatre/BFI, Purcell Room, the Barbican, the ICA, V&A. Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Sonar (Barcelona), MAXXI/National Museum of XXI Century Arts (Rome), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and Centro de Cultura Digital (Mexico City), among other institutions. Video works have been aired on Channel 4 and she has also performed radio sessions for John Peel and Mixing It. People Like Us has been commissioned by The Arts Council England, The BBC, WDR, Great North Run Moving Image Commission, Sound and Music, Channel 4/Animate Projects, AV Festival, Sonic Arts Network, Forma, LUX and Lovebytes amongst others.

Notations (2013), a film for live improvisers toured the UK with TUSK/Sound & Music in Autumn 2013; Gesture Piece, a film with seven invited artist soundtracks; two films for Animate Projects/Channel 4 television, UK, broadcast as part of their Random Acts series. In 2015, Vicki created A/V performance Citation City, using techniques of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project in relation to London-based feature films. Nothing Can Turn Into A Void – a documentary film about People Like Us has screened in cinemas and festivals since Autumn 2015, and No One Is An Island, a radio work created for WDR, broadcast in April 2016. The Expanded Radio online/virtual commission/artist residency Optimized! broadcast on WFMU in June 2016.

Currently, Vicki is focussing on expanding both audio and moving image work for the multiscreen and multi-speakered environment Cinechamber with Recombinant Media Labs – Gone, Gone Beyond, a forever changing 10 screen 8 speakers surround/seamless projection work, world premiered in San Francisco in October 2017.  Vicki has just completed a new solo a/v performance The Mirror which which is currently touring the UK and overseas, and also produced the video for the spring 2018 The The Comeback Tour.

October 2018 sees the release of The Mirror CD and online release, featuring music from the movie of the same name and tracks from Gone, Gone Beyond.

Shorter Bio – Artist Statement
Filmography
Exhibitions and Editions
Selected Performances and Screenings
Commissions and Awards
Talks, Lectures
Discography

Vicki People Like Us 2016

Click below for hi-res photographs

Vicki - People Like Us 2016

People Like Us/Vicki Bennett Filmography

The Mirror” (live performance), [Spring 2018, taking bookings]
“The The 2018 Tour” – editing visuals [2018]
Gone, Gone Beyond” 10 Screen / 8 Speaker work, Stage One complete, Stage Two in progress [2016-2017, taking bookings]
Can’t Stop What’s Coming” video edit for THE THE [2017]
Optimized! Expanded Radio & Artist Residency at WFMU with People Like Us & Let’s Paint TV” documentary film [2016]
Optimized! Special: The Dusty Show with Clay Pigeon – At Union Square, Manhattan” documentary edited by Vicki Bennett [2016]
Ultimate Care II Excerpt 5” – official video for Matmos [2015]
Nothing Can Turn Into A Void” – documentary film about People Like Us edited by Vicki Bennett and directed by Carl Abrahamsson [2015]
CCCitations” [2015]
Citation City” (live performance) [2015]
“Art Heist” (film – under construction) [2015-]
“The Big Sleep” [2014]
“BLINK” [2014]
Notations UK Tour Travelogue” documentary [2013]
“We Are Not Amused” [2013]
“The Golem – An Inanimate Matter” [2013]
“Notations”
 [2013]
“Gesture Piece” [2013]
“BWPWAP” [2013] Continue reading

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

InMute Festival, Athens

Notations and Consequences (One Thing Leads To Another)** will both be performed at InMute Festival, Athens Onassis Cultural Centre on 25 October 2014.

This time around Notations will be performed by the duo Acte Vide.

Festival Curation: Michalis Moschoutis 

PROGRAMME

Friday 24 October

Rhythmus 21 (Hans Richter, 1921)
Rhythmus 23 (Hans Richter, 1923)
Duration: 8′
Live score: Giorgos Katsanos (analog synth, amplified objects)

Dog Star Man: Part I (Stan Brakhage, 1962)
Duration: 30′
Live score: Yiorgis Sakellariou (laptop, tapes)

Emak-Bakia (Man Ray, 1927)
Duration: 18′
Live score: Balinese Beast (Giorgos Axiotis: electronics, Ilan Manouach: saxophone, electronics)

Aleph (Wallace Berman 1958-1976)
Duration: 7′
Silent

Early Abstractions Nos. 1-4, 7 & 10 (Harry Smith, 1946-57)
Preserved by Anthology Film Archives, New York
Duration: 22′
Live score: Mike Cooper (steel guitar)

Saturday 25 October


**Consequences (One Thing Leads To Another) is not on the festival programme but will be a “parallel event” also on the 25 October at the same venue earlier the same evening at 7.30pm (25 October).
Details here http://www.sgt.gr/en/programme/event/2142

Notations (Vicki Bennett, 2013)
Duration: 30′
Live performance: Acte Vide (Danae Stefanou: piano, Giannis Kotsonis: electronics)

Cowards Bend the Knee (Guy Maddin, 2003)
Duration: 60′
Live score: Philip Jeck (turntables, electronics)

Sunday 26 October

Social Decay (audio-visual performance based on Stelios Tatasopoulos‘s 1932 film)
Duration: 25’
Live music & video: Voltnoi & Quetempo

The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928)
Duration: 82′
Live score: Jacob Kirkegaard (laptop)

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)

High Zero Festival Baltimore full concerts

Stop press: here are films documenting the full performances at High Zero:

People Like Us at High Zero Festival in Baltimore on 19 and 20 September, 2014

Friday 19 September is a night of improvisation, in which People Like Us performs two sets with other improvisers, the first time Vicki has done improvisation of this type in more than 10 years.
Doors open 7.30pm, performances begin at 8.30pm

Group One:
Jack Wright (saxophone)
Dafne Vicente-Sandoval (bassoon)
Paul Neidhardt (percussion, friction)
M.C. Schmidt (store-bought electronics)
Charles Dube (electronics)
Group Two:
John Kilduff (multitasking, live art)
Vicki Bennett (found footage sample collage)
Bob Wagner (percussion, friction)
Group Three:
LaDonna Smith (violin)
Paul Neidhardt (percussion, friction)
Harry Walker (electric bass)
Michael Fischer (saxophone)
Group Four:
JD Zazie (turntables, CDJ, mixer, found sounds)
Charlotte Hug (viola, voice)
Jenny Gräf (electronics, guitar)
Stewart Mostofsky (electronics)
Vicki Bennett (found footage sample collage)

Notations at the Saturday Matinee, on 20 September 2014 at The Theatre Project, 45 W Preston St, Baltimore.
Doors open Noon, performances at 1pm. 
This time around, the performers to this live score are:
Bob Wagner (drums)
LaDonna Smith (violin)
Jenny Gräf (electronics, guitar)
“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 ‘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.

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

Notations with Philip Jeck & Jaap Blonk – full movie

This is the full-length performance of the Cafe Oto leg of last year’s NOTATIONS tour, with Jaap Blonk and Philip Jeck as guest performers.

Vicki Bennett’s film-collage-as-visual-score Notations is created from hundreds of different film clips, where the content conceptually or literally portrays different kinds of instructions to be read by the improvising artists on stage as a visual score. The film/performance toured the UK in November 2013 after premiering at Ilan Volkov’s TECTONICS Festival in Reykjavik earlier in the year. This marks a return to working with improvised audio and video, both on radio and in front of an audience. Between 1996-2003, Vicki performed both solo and with Jon Leidecker (Wobbly), Matt Wand (Stock, Hausen and Walkman), Matmos, members of Negativland and Kenneth Goldsmith.

To soundtrack Notations, each show featured a different combination of artists: Bill Orcutt, Rhodri Davies, M.C. Schmidt (Matmos), Philip Jeck, Jaap Blonk, Steve Noble, Wobbly, Mark Sanders, Tomomi Adachi and Jennifer Walshe.

Vicki Bennett is an influential figure in the field of audio visual collage, through her innovative sampling, appropriating and cutting up of found footage and archives, publishing material since 1992.

Notations UK Tour was produced by Tusk and commissioned by Sound and Music as part of their Touring Programme for 2013.

peoplelikeus.org/2013/notations-tour/

Notations at Bristol Arnolfini – video edit

Here’s an edit of the final show from the Notations UK tour at Bristol with Jaap Blonk, Steve Noble and Philip Jeck. Many thanks to Tusk and Sound and Music for making this possible!

Notations at Bristol Arnolfini with Jaap Blonk, Philip Jeck & Steve Noble. A film by Vicki Bennett.

NOTATIONS – the film by Vicki Bennett (People Like Us) created for live performance by improvising artists and musicians, toured the UK in November 2013, produced by Tusk and commissioned by Sound and Music as part of their Touring Programme for 2013. 

Performers: Jaap Blonk / Philip Jeck / Steve Noble
Film by Vicki Bennett
Venue: Bristol Arnolfini, 30 Nov 2013
peoplelikeus.org/2013/notations/