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.
Click below for hi-res photographs
Since Autumn 2003 People Like Us have been doing a weekly show on WFMU, called DO or DIY. The aim of the show is to mix highbrow with lowbrow to challenge whether there is much difference. Archived playlists of at least 200 shows from 2003 to the present day can be found at www.wfmu.org/peoplelikeus
Vicki Bennett also curated/programmed RADIO BOREDCAST in Winter 2011/Spring 2012. It was first broadcast on basic.fm and now is archived at WFMU. More recently, Vicki Bennett has programmed OPTIMIZED!, a week-long expanded radio stream on WFMU 6-10 June 2016.
Subscribe to the Podcast of DO or DIY by clicking here – it will prompt your iTunes program to open, where you will receive the podcasts.
About DO or DIY
DO or DIY is a freeform sound art radio show broadcast weekly by Vicki Bennett (project name People Like Us) on WFMU.
The philosophy behind the show is simple. That within the realms of avant-garde and experimental sound art the goalposts defining “accessible” and “inaccessible” are constantly moving. As the radar rises and dips, fragments and shards of underground creations unearth, and popular culture and artist resonate, shifting shapes accordingly with one another in reflections of changing spotlights.
The avant-garde and popular culture rely on each other’s energy. People Like Us collage both “hard to listen” works and popular listening matter, showing that in fact, beyond the restrictions of genre, genre IS the restriction and it is possible to like many kinds of art and music. The key is finding the door – DO or DIY leads the way into new and unusual realms of listening and hope to show the way in.
Each show consists of collages made of sound works from the 20th and 21st century, often layered and looped many times over, resulting in an album type effect on each show.
The pun “All Things Avant-Retard”, a rhyme with “All Things Avant-Garde” literally means All Things Forward-Backwards. Essentially by using sonic extremes and apparent opposites we find some sort of central point or balanced perspective on music and sound.
Suggested Listening: DO or DIY fill in for Ken.
New Free WFMU iPhone/iPod Touch app!
Also, if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch we are also pleased to announce that you can listen to not only the regular WFMU stream on the move at a glorious 128k, but also all of our special streams, recent DJ show archives and DJ podcasts including all of DO or DIY!
You can download the much improved updated free WFMU app right here.
Gwilly Edmondez is all over the place yet usually in the wrong place at the right time. As an improvisor and recording artist he tries to play as often as possible with anyone who’s game, or solo if no one is about. What he uses mostly is his voice, but is always searching for things to go with it, like samples, tapes and beats. Anything could happen, which is why Gwilly prefers to act at the very fringes of proper. He has collaborated with all sorts of people but his primary non-solo projects at the moment are YEAH YOU (with Elvin Brandhi), Kleevex (with Faye MacCalman) and Impossibility Knox (with Odie Ji Ghast and sometimes THF Drenching).
Monday, July 3rd, 6pm – 7pm EST
on DO or DIY with People Like Us on WFMU
Dominic Robertson aka Ergo Phizmiz
One Summer’s morning Vicki Bennett was visited by Dominic Robertson aka the composer, writer, theatre director and collagist Ergo Phizmiz. He brought with him stories of political prophecy, homemade opera, and laments on the death of the internet-of-dreams.
Over The Edge
DO or DIY with People Like Us – Monday, 19 June 2017 – 6pm
From 1981 to 2015, Negativland‘s Don Joyce hosted Over The Edge, the longest running block of freeform live mix collage radio in broadcast history — a program which continues today, having been inherited by long time show participant and collaborator Jon Leidecker. In this very Wobbly interview, Vicki and Jon discuss the history of collage radio, and the slow evolution of the Edge, as well as its many possible futures, both True and False.
http://www.detritus.net/wobbly/ | https://archive.org/details/ote
If you are by the radio or internet on Wednesday 21 December between 9am-noon NY time (that’s 2-5pm UK friends) then tune in to a mega 3-hour DO or DIY with People Like Us on WFMU with your radio host Vicki and 20,000 mp3s. Listen on the live link at http://wfmu.org/ at the time, and join us on the Comments Board and follow the live playlist at https://wfmu.org/
For the final DO or DIY with People Like Us of the 2016 season on WFMU, keeping with a tradition we’ve been doing a “Best Of” show for the last 2 weeks. Here’s a megamix (minus mic breaks!) downloadable from the Free Music Archive.