Here’s a new version of our film for improvisers “Notations“, this time around performed by Blectum from Blechdom:
Indexical Presents Digital Alchemy in Fall 2019
28 September 2019 at 8pm
People Like Us Theatrical Screening of “The Mirror” (not a concert!) and artist Q&A | Blectum from Blechdom perform “Notations” by Vicki Bennett
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.
A theatrical screening of The 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.
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).
Much like the other movies, you can enquire about performing with this movie by way of our Contact Page. Our first performance will be in Newcastle, UK in June 2019, as part of a collaboration with Newcastle University Department of Music.
14 June 2019 – Culture Lab, Newcastle
18 July 2019 – 7th Syros International Film Festival – Overexposure
NOTATIONS a film for live improvisers
(People Like Us, 2013)
Our film for live improvisers was performed at the School of Music Studies, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Greece on 29 May 2018, and it’s just been put online.
Watch other performances of Notations here: http://peoplelikeus.org/2013/notations/
NOTATIONS at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Excerpts from a workshop and improvised performance by σ.π.Α.Μ.*
*experimental and improvised music ensembles
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 collage 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 Contemporary Arts Center, Recombinant Media Labs (RML), Sonic Arts Network, Forma, LUX and Lovebytes.
To date, Vicki has had 6 solo exhibitions and participated in 19 group shows at MAXXI (Rome), Venice Biennale, HMKV (Dortmund), Centro de Cultura Digital (Mexico), Hatton Gallery (Newcastle), Vitrine (London), alt.gallery (Newcastle), Greene County Council for the Arts Gallery (NY), Peacock Visual Arts (Aberdeen), Pallant House (Chichester), Engramme (Quebec), La Scatola Gallery (London), Changing Room (Stirling), Franklin Street Works (Connecticut), Usurp Gallery (London), University of Greenwich Galleries, Matthew Gallery (Dundee), Edinburgh Printmakers, Millennium Gallery (Sheffield) Leeds College of Art, Sunbeam Studios (London) and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (NY).
The work of People Like Us has been featured in many publications, including Sounds Like Silence – 4’33’’ Silence Today (Spectre Books 2012), The Journal of Writing In Creative Practice (Vol 7 Issue 1 2015), The Fundamentals of Sonic Art and Design by Tony Gibbs (Ava Publishing 2007), Cutting Across Media by Kembrew McLeod (Duke University Press 2011), Here To Go – Art, Counter-Culture and the Esoteric (Forum Nidrosiae 2014), Incredible Machines by Danny Snelson (avant 2014), Sensations of History (University of Minnesota Press 2019) and she has written for The Wire’s Collateral Damage (February 2012). In 2020 Vicki will have a whole chapter dedicated to her work in Duchamp Is My Lawyer The Polemics, Pragmatics, and Poetics of UbuWeb by Kenneth Goldsmith on Columbia University Press.
People Like Us has been reviewed in The Wire, BBC website, Bizarre Magazine, Rolling Stone, Frieze, The Independent, Record Collector, Time Out, Film Comment, The Guardian, The Scotsman, XLR8R, Baltimore City Paper, Sight and Sound, NME, Metro and San Francisco Bay Guardian, and interviewed for Found Footage Magazine (2016), The Observer (2006), Filmmaker Magazine (2015), The Wire (2014, 2011, 2008, 1999), Sight and Sound (2013), a-n Magazine (2012), Wired (2012), RadioWeb MACBA (2010), Sound and Music (2011), Sound Projector (2012, 2000), Bizarre Magazine (1999), NME (1995, 1996). On radio I’ve been interviewed on Late Junction (2016), Soundproof (ABC Radio National 2016), WDR 3 Open Sounds (WDR 2016), Cutting Up The Cut Up (BBC Radio 4 2015), North by Southwest (British Council 2012) PM (BBC Radio 3 2010), Twenty Minutes (BBC Radio 3 2009) and Mixing It (BBC Radio 3 2004).
Vicki has also curated publications and events: First Person, Fourth Wall (2020), Optimized! Expanded Radio Stream, WFMU (2016), Concert of Collage, Encounters Festival, Bristol (2015), Radio Boredcast, 744 hour radio station, AV Festival (2012), Nothing is New, Everything is Permitted event, AV Festival (2010), Sonic Arts Network CD Smiling Through My Teeth (2008) and a Humour in Music event, Purcell Room for Ether Festival (2002).
Notations, a film for live improvisers toured the UK with TUSK/Sound & Music in Autumn 2013; 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. Since 2018, Vicki has been touring her solo a/v performance The Mirror, released an album under the same name, and produced the video for the spring 2018 The The Comeback Tour. She was participant in Sound and Music’s New Voices programme, and a-n Artist Bursaries 2019 recipient. The 45 minute radio art commission I Can Fly aired on WDR in Spring 2020.
In 2020, Vicki has been working on content for her solo show as Hallwalls Artist in Residence (HARP), culminating in a solo exhibition First Person, Fourth Wall in September-October 2020. Beyond this, Vicki plans to focus back on Gone, Gone Beyond, an hour-long seamless multiscreen and multi-speakered immersive installation with RML CineChamber.
New work being made for Hallwalls Artists-in-Residence Project (HARP) 
“Cosmos Song” by Big Fresh 
“Objects In The Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear” (film for improvisers) 
“The Mirror” (live performance), [Spring 2018]
“The The 2018 Tour” – editing visuals 
“Gone, Gone Beyond” 10 Screen / 8 Speaker work, Stage One complete, Stage Two in progress [2016-2019+, taking bookings]
“Can’t Stop What’s Coming” video edit for THE THE 
“Optimized! Expanded Radio & Artist Residency at WFMU with People Like Us & Let’s Paint TV” documentary film 
“Optimized! Special: The Dusty Show with Clay Pigeon – At Union Square, Manhattan” documentary edited by Vicki Bennett 
“Ultimate Care II Excerpt 5” – official video for Matmos 
“Nothing Can Turn Into A Void” – documentary film about People Like Us edited by Vicki Bennett and directed by Carl Abrahamsson 
“Citation City” (live performance) 
“Art Heist” (film – under construction) [2015-]
“The Big Sleep” 
“Notations UK Tour Travelogue” documentary 
“We Are Not Amused” 
“The Golem – An Inanimate Matter” 
“Gesture Piece” 
“Consequences (One Thing Leads To Another)” (live performance) [2012-13]
“Free Rod MckMoon” 
“Variations On Jem Finer’s Slowplayer” 
“The Zone” 
“4’33” The Movie” 
“Free (As A Chapel In The Moonlight” 
“The Magical Misery Tour” (live performance) 
“The Atlantic Conveyor” 
“The Doors Of Perspection” 
“Clean Your Room” 
“The Keystone Cut Ups” (live performance with Ergo Phizmiz) 
“Magic” (with Ergo Phizmiz) 
“The Sound Of The End Of Music” 
“Mull of Kintyre” (with Ergo Phizmiz) 
“Genre Collage” (live performance) [2009-10]
“Induction Is A Draft Is A Gust Of Air” 
“The Look” 
“In The Waking” 
“Skew Gardens” 
“Ghosts Before Breakfast” (with Ergo Phizmiz) 
“Live Excerpts” [2002-2007]
“Work, Rest & Play” 
“Trying Things Out” 
“Story Without End” 
“People Like Us At The Movies” 
“The Remote Controller” 
“We Edit Life” 
“New Knowledge” 
“Well If You’d Like To See” 
“Discovering Electronic Music” 
“Music Of Your Own” 
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
This time around Notations will be performed by the duo Acte Vide.
Festival Curation: Michalis Moschoutis
Friday 24 October
Rhythmus 21 (Hans Richter, 1921)
Rhythmus 23 (Hans Richter, 1923)
Live score: Giorgos Katsanos (analog synth, amplified objects)
Dog Star Man: Part I (Stan Brakhage, 1962)
Live score: Yiorgis Sakellariou (laptop, tapes)
Emak-Bakia (Man Ray, 1927)
Live score: Balinese Beast (Giorgos Axiotis: electronics, Ilan Manouach: saxophone, electronics)
Aleph (Wallace Berman 1958-1976)
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)
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)
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
Jack Wright (saxophone)
Dafne Vicente-Sandoval (bassoon)
Paul Neidhardt (percussion, friction)
M.C. Schmidt (store-bought electronics)
Charles Dube (electronics)
John Kilduff (multitasking, live art)
Vicki Bennett (found footage sample collage)
Bob Wagner (percussion, friction)
LaDonna Smith (violin)
Paul Neidhardt (percussion, friction)
Harry Walker (electric bass)
Michael Fischer (saxophone)
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 (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.