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.
We have made a new film for improvising musicians and artists titled Objects In The Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear. This is part of our project The Mirror, which initially was and is an audiovisual performance by People Like Us, and the umbrella project also includes 3 new artist commissions and this film.
This is not the first film we have made of this type. Previous to this was Notations (which included a national tour in the UK (followed by further dates internationally) with a fantastic roster of improvisers, supported by Sound and Music), as well as some collaborations where we have made the film then made sections available to other artists and musicians to respond (Gesture Piece and CCCitations).
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 since 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 publishers and distributors, 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 Vicki has published more than 35 video projects and 50 audio recordings, with works released by labels including Illegal Art, Rough Trade, Soleilmoon Recordings, Discrepant, 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. Her video work has been screened at Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, 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 radio sessions created for John Peel and Mixing It. People Like Us has been commissioned by Arts Council England, The BBC, WDR, Great North Run, Sound and Music, Channel 4/Animate Projects, AV Festival, Hallwalls, Recombinant Media Labs (RML), Sonic Arts Network, Forma, LUX and Lovebytes.
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. In 2018 Vicki has just completed a new solo a/v performance The Mirror which which is currently touring the UK and overseas, released an album under the same name, and produced the video for the spring 2018 The The Comeback Tour.
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
Early Abstractions Nos. 1-4, 7 & 10 (Harry Smith, 1946-57)
Preserved by Anthology Film Archives, New York
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)
Live performance: Acte Vide (Danae Stefanou: piano, Giannis Kotsonis: electronics)
Cowards Bend the Knee (Guy Maddin, 2003)
Live score: Philip Jeck (turntables, electronics)
Sunday 26 October
Social Decay (audio-visual performance based on Stelios Tatasopoulos‘s 1932 film)
Live music & video: Voltnoi & Quetempo
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928)
Live score: Jacob Kirkegaard (laptop)
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
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 (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.
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.
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.