List of Residencies, Commissions & Collaborations

Development of 8 speaker / 10 screen audiovisual installation “Gone, Gone Beyond” with Recombinant Media Labs [2016/2017/2018++]

Can’t Stop What’s Coming” video for THE THE [2017]

Curation of radio station and artist residency (with John Kilduff) Optimized! on WFMU funded by National Endowment for the Arts [June 2016]

No One Is An Island radio commission for WDR to be broadcast 9 April 2016 on WDR 3 [Summer 2015-Winter 2015]

Curation of films for Concert of Collage, Watershed, Bristol [September 2015]

Nothing Can Turn Into A Void, editing a feature length doc film by Carl Abrahamsson about Vicki Bennett/People Like Us [Spring 2015]

Arts Council England award creating a new live a/v performance Citation City and new short films with artist soundtracks pdf [Spring 2014-Spring 2015]

Book collaboration with Gregor Weichbrodt The Fundamental Questions [Summer 2014]

Those Who Do Not T Shirt Commission [Summer 2014]
Printed in a light blue and white on an electric blue T-shirt with The Wire logo and Vicki Bennett Those Who Do Not printed in light blue on the back of the neck. Limited edition of 100 shirts.

Solo gallery show Shutter at Leeds College of Art pdf [Winter-Spring 2014]

Touring award from Sound and Music for Notations [Autumn/Winter 2013]

Two short animation films for Animate Projects/Channel 4 television, UK as part of their Random Acts Series [March 2013-July 2013] broadcast on national television in Autumn 2013 pdf

Creation of online film with 7 artist soundtracks Gesture Piece, commissioned by Pixel Palace at Tyneside Cinema pdf [Spring/Summer 2013] Continue reading

People Like Us “Story Without End” DVD

Released Autumn 2005
4 Short Films by People Like Us
Design by Joerg Hartmannsgruber & People Like Us

Sonic Arts Network proudly presents a collection of short films by leading British A/V artist People Like Us, a true champion of a particularly English sense of humour. The DVD shows a journey though a multi-layered 20th Century, represented by bright eyed and enthusiastic images of the modern world, concluding with the new Sonic Arts Network commission ‘Story Without End’.

Contains:
We Edit Life
The Remote Controller
Resemblage
Story Without End



UK – DVD price including P&P: $10
Buy in UK
EUROPE – DVD price including P&P: $11
Buy in rest of Europe
ELSEWHERE – DVD price including P&P: $12
Buy in rest of world

Daphne Oram

In January 2005, Sonic Arts Network, the leading UK body for electronic music and sound art, was asked by Daphne’s descendants to care for her collected papers, recordings and other items. It was with the benefit of experimental electronic music practice in mind that Goldsmiths Electronic Music Studio (EMS) collaborated with the Sonic Arts Network (SAN) to bring this collection into the academic community where it could be properly studied and developed. To this end, a grant was awarded to Goldsmiths, University of London in 2007 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, to catalogue the collection, digitise the audio tapes and initiate related research.
In June 2008 People Like Us were invited into the archives of electronic music pioneer Daphne Oram, to rework them into new compositions, to be presented as part of a day-long symposium at London’s Southbank. Here are the results.
01. Daphne Speaks
02. Daphne Inuit Song
03. Daphne Bird In A Teacup
04. Daphne Everybody’s Calling
05. Daphne Reggae Lady
06. Daphne Waltz
Mirrored here:

And on UbuWeb

Sonic Arts Network/Oramics at the Southbank left website
Daphne Oram Collection at Goldsmiths website
Daphne Oram website
Thanks to WFMU’s Beware of the Blog and UbuWeb

Continue reading

Documentation of the People Like Us Retrospective at alt.gallery

Documentation of the People Like Us Retrospective at alt.gallery
alt.gallery (entry via alt.vinyl) 61/62 Thornton Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4AW.
http://www.altgallery.org/
16 May-12 July 2008

alt.gallery is pleased to announce the first retrospective exhibition of work by People Like Us (aka Vicki Bennett).
ARTIST INFO
For the past seventeen years British artist Vicki Bennett has been an influential figure in the field of audio visual collage, through her innovative sampling, appropriating and cutting up of found footage and archives. Using collage as her main form of expression, she creates audio recordings, films and radio shows that communicate a humorous, dark and often surreal view on life. The exhibition will focus on the concept of collage, showing an edited selection of her work, including twenty album releases, numerous singles and remixes, live sets, seven films and over a hundred and fifty radio shows. These collages mix, manipulate and rework original sources from both the experimental and popular worlds of music, film, television and radio.   People Like Us believe in open access to archives for creative use, and have made work using footage from the Prelinger Archives, The Internet Archive, and A/V Geeks. 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 Tate Modern, Sydney Opera House, Pompidou Center and Sonar, and performed radio sessions for John Peel and Mixing It. The ongoing sound art radio show ‘Do or DIY’ on WFMU has had over a million “listen again” hits since 2003. The People Like Us back catalogue is available for free download hosted by UbuWeb.
MEMORY STICKS

Every week during the exhibition a different collection of special downloads from the People Like Us archive will be available from the gallery, bring your memory stick along for a free take away!
ESSAY BY DR DREW DANIEL
A specially commissioned essay by Dr. Drew Daniel of Matmos accompanies the exhibition. Download pdf here. Drew’s essay can also be linked to here

Download a larger version of this flyer here
Download the poster (featured top right) here
The exhibition also included a framed essay by Rick Prelinger on The Virtues of Preexisting Material. Here is an excerpt:
On the Virtues of Preexisting Material
© Rick Prelinger 2007
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License
1 Why add to the population of orphaned works?
2 Don’t presume that new work improves on old
3 Honor our ancestors by recycling their wisdom
4 The ideology of originality is arrogant and wasteful
5 Dregs are the sweetest drink
6 And leftovers were spared for a reason
7 Actors don’t get a fair shake the first time around, let’s give them another
8 The pleasure of recognition warms us on cold nights and cools us in hot summers
9 We approach the future by typically roundabout means
10 We hope the future is listening, and the past hopes we are too
11 What’s gone is irretrievable, but might also predict the future
12 Access to what’s already happened is cheaper than access to what’s happening now
13 Archives are justified by use
14 Make a quilt not an advertisement

Download a pdf of the full text here, or link to the essay here.


The exhibition will also launch a new CD curated by Vicki Bennett for Sonic Arts Network called ‘Smiling Through My Teeth’, a compilation of humorous music and sound art.

SPECIAL EVENTS
People Like Us Special on WFMU
Thursday 15 May, 11pm-midnight (UK time) www.wfmu.org/playlists/ER – To celebrate the exhibition opening Ergo Phizmiz hosts a People Like Us Special on his show ‘Phuj Phactory’ on WFMU, both on terrestrial radio and live internet stream.
People Like Us Talk and Screening
Friday 16 May, 7:30pm
Star and Shadow Cinema, Stepney Bank, Newcastle
Vicki Bennett presents a selection of films by People Like Us.
The Late Shows: Smiling Through My Teeth CD Launch
Saturday 17 May, 7pm-11pm
alt.gallery
www.altgallery.org

The Late Shows form part of NewcastleGateshead’s world-class festivals and events programme. www.thelateshows.org.uk

Many thanks to Rebecca Shatwell for inviting us to do this retrospective, it was great fun to work together. Rebecca is now director of AV Festival.

Continue reading

Story Without End – DVD

Sonic Arts Network proudly presents a collection of short films by leading British A/V artist People Like Us, a true champion of a particularly English sense of humour. The DVD shows a journey though a multi-layered 20th Century, represented by bright eyed and enthusiastic images of the modern world, concluding with the new Sonic Arts Network commission ‘Story Without End”. Each of these films are available on this page, through UbuWeb, for free download in mp4 format. However, if you would also like the DVD, which has beautiful fold-out packaging, go to our shop. All prices include postage and packing

Scans of Reviews here:

Story Without End – Review in Jazzthetik July 2006
Story Without End – Review in Trax Magazine June 2006
Story Without End – Review in Black Jan 2006
Story Without End – Review and Interview April 2006
Story Without End – Review in Cinemania May 2006
Story Without End – Review in The Wire May 2006
Story Without End – Blow Up February 2006
Story Without End – Rock Delux Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – Magic Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – Debug Magazine January 2006

Story Without End – Intro Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – Sonic Seducer Magazine February 2006
Story Without End – D Side Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Go Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Bad Alchemy Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Clone Magazine January 2006
Story Without End – Metro Magazine Summer 2005

Story Without End (and three other Films) – review

Music videos for mash-ups are rarely as enjoyable as the audio originals – the pleasure of the sound collage is the simultaneity of clashing spaces, where visual montage makes us choose between one space or another through sequence. The web is awash in video cut-ups today; giddy editors take advantage of bountiful source material in online archives, easy desktop editing software and mostly free distribution through video.google or youtube.com. Surrealist film technique is the stuff of late-night television comedy, as each day’s presidential speeches are cut up and re-arranged for comedic effect.
This explosion of montage only highlights the differences between sound collage and video pastiche. Multi-track recorders, turntables, samplers and sequencers gave us densities no film editor could dream of. Yet sometimes film collage carries a more obviously political impact – visual juxtapositions seem to jar more directly.

Into this dynamic steps the singular art of PEOPLE LIKE US. At the controls is artist Vicki Bennett, a masterful and prolific sound-collagist whose works in video have been recently released by the Sonic Arts Network as a DVD. Where traditional montage makes us choose between one cut or another, Bennett’s meticulous work relies on compositing, masks, and mattes to create a visual simultaneity every bit as dense as what we hear in her music.

Through four works, completed between 2002 and 2005, Bennett has extracted various subjects from their backgrounds, and backgrounds from their contexts. Recombined, these artifacts occasionally grow synchronous with sound, but always stand out in contrast to each other. As in some of the more jarring mash-ups one might encounter on Bennett’s radio shows for WFMU, the seams are far from hidden. A boy sets a toy house down upon a giant circuit board – later we see him again laying out his little town on a pumpkin patch.

Opacities and edges blur to give way to various cohabiting characters – a man peers into a screen to reveal another composited world, even as he’s oblivious to the third one above him, or the beetles crawling over the screen on yet a fourth layer. Narrators stand above it all, promising all sorts of things to come. Bennett introduces each new element as she would a new loop in her sonic compositions, and lets us hold it all in our head for a moment (or sometimes far longer – she loves repetition) before moving on to something else. It’s a happy marriage of pastiche in sound and video that helps demonstrate the musicality of vision – the work is more Vertov than Eisenstein.

All of this makes STORY WITHOUT END a welcome and rare addition to the lively world of the cut-up. Bennett’s films offer much more than this, however. After all, as the narrator of THE REMOTE CONTROLLER tells us, “mixing is so simple, a child could do it.”
Directing Bennett’s deft and patient hand at the mouse is a very specific sort of curiosity, and a particular approach to human creation and action. These films are the result of countless hours of sifting through the archives of various digital and physical collections. Specifically named in the credits are the collections of Rick Prelinger at The Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org), Skip Elsheimer’s avgeeks.com, and London’s Lux collection of avant-garde film. Except for some footage of Bennett’s own screen desktop in WE EDIT LIFE, none of Bennett’s source material appears to be self-generated. She even borrows from herself, recycling audio or video from old works in new.

The result is a very specific kind of collection. Though individual elements within a frame are composited to remain estranged from one another, the ingredients add up to a whole that’s from a particular palette, a specific time and place. In all four of these works, we see and hear hopeful proponents of techno-marvels from modernity’s golden age. Men and women hunch over vintage screens and typewriters, monitoring, tweaking and enjoying newfound power through perfect analog connections. Telephone operators, orchestra conductors, audio engineers, and city planners listen to the spaces on the other side of an edit, command our attention, or carry out plans via remote operation.

We see an artist and an engineer negotiate a new collaboration; we get transferred by a series of attractive switchboard operators from Chicago to Wabash. Maps and radar, puppet strings and monitors mediate the relations between distant actors. Throughout it all, Bennett plays an equally magical role, creating new seamless spaces through edits, as her subjects create spaces through telepresent connections. These hopeful operators and technicians are people like us, twiddling knobs at a remote, if enamored, distance. By revealing her own hand, Bennett identifies herself with the films’ optimistic subjects, who according to their narrators “merely push a button and let something else do the work.” Another narrator adds, “the result is breathtaking beauty, and lasting good taste.”

Like Craig Baldwin in SPECTRES OF THE SPECTRUM, Bennett tells a story of hope about technology, using the artifacts of a more hopeful age. Her films marry medium to message to reveal the folly of such hope, yet without resorting to irony. Refreshingly gentle and humble, the work relies on humor, awkwardness, and empathy to produce skepticism without cynicism. If through her reliance on found materials Bennett lacks the faith of scientist-magicians who create something from nothing, she shares their joy at seeing pushbuttons produce results.

In the tradition of modernist reflexivity, Bennett relies on the stutter, the scratch or pause to call attention to her own hand. Importantly though, she reminds us that stutters and burps are also human, and funny. Laughter is likely to be one’s first and lasting reaction to Bennett’s work in sound and video – so much so that perhaps this act of analysis might seem absurd. Close examination of the works on STORY WITHOUT END yield rich results, however, and make me grateful for Bennett’s generous and labored marriage of humor and criticism.

Kevin Hamilton
February 13, 2006
http://www.kevinhamilton.org

Story Without End – short film

Made using footage from the Prelinger Archives and A/V Geeks, this film explores how technology enables us to communicate faster. Despite advances in communication technology the film shows that the story of progress will never end; and that it leads to both connection and disconnection. The narrative is from a public domain film of the same name made in 1950 about the development of microwave radio transmission and the transistor.


Download at UbuWeb
story without end

A Call For Silence curated by Nicolas Collins

Curated by Nicolas Collins – 2004
Design by Joerg Hartmannsgruber (white-card)

acallforsilence

As in the old Roué’s quip that “a drink before and a cigarette after are the three best things in life,” sometimes the most important moments of our lives lie in an unspoken ellipse. The same is true of some of our most beautiful sounds.

On this CD 34 artists provide personal views into that sonic ellipse, suggestions for listening to that which might otherwise pass you by: count-offs, groove grit, tape hiss, breaths, rests, CD glitch, guitar hum, audience anticipation, reverb tails, room tones, minutes of silence, the calm before a storm.

People Like Us “Cage Silenced”