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 Recombinant Media Labs own Cinechamber, with 10 screen work "Gone, Gone Beyond". Also a new People Like Us live performance (and sometimes stand alone movie) "The Mirror" premiered at FACT, Liverpool in Spring 2018 and now tours as a live performance (Europe), and stand alone movie (US). October 2018 sees the release of a new CD/online album also called The Mirror.
The new 47-minute immersive 360 film “Gone, Gone Beyond” by People Like Us will World Premiere in San Francisco this 11-14 October 2017 at Recombinant Festival at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. Developed in collaboration with Recombinant Media Labs, Gone, Gone Beyond will screen in Cinechamber, a 10 screen/8 speaker space with seamless wrap around projection and surround sound, where the audience sit inside. Gone, Gone Beyond uses appropriated edited collage sewn together in a giant patchwork. Pull on a thread and watch whole new narratives expand and unravel all at once on a 360 palette.
The following conversation was conducted between Vicki Bennett and WFMU DJ and artist Hearty White in September 2017.
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.