A series of three talks programmed by The Wire magazine looking at different strategies and systems for making music and organising sound.
Wed 20 October 2021 | 18.45 – 20.30 | In person £8 Lancaster Rooms, New Wing & Online This in person event will also be streamed live from Somerset House. If you are unable to join us on the evening, a recording will be archived and available to view via a ticketed link.
This in person event will also be streamed live from Somerset House. If you are unable to join us on the evening, a recording will be archived and available to view via a ticketed link. Music By Any Means has been designed to show how anything can become music, from objects to actions, archives to rituals, and how anyone can make it, regardless of any previous musical experience or ability. In the process of demystifying the processes of sound organisation and music making, the series will illuminate other ways of being in the world through sound, bypassing existing orthodoxies to enable and empower new creative activity.
The talks, which will include demonstrations and performances, will be presented by O YAMA O (Rie Nakajima and Keiko Yamamoto), People Like Us (Vicki Bennett), and Elaine Mitchener; all artists who use aspects of film, theatre, performance, visual art and other practices to inform and develop new and distinctive approaches to making music and organising sound. Music By Any Means will be available to audiences both onsite and online, with each event broadcast live from Somerset House Studios.
Vicki Bennett explores the processes of making audiovisual content, working with archives and found footage.
Using collage as a compositional tool opens up endless opportunities to create and experience results that are more than the sum of their parts, opening doors (and windows) to let light in and move beyond limited and repetitive ways of creative thinking.
In this talk, Vicki Bennett discusses and demonstrates her creative process making audio-visual content, working with archives and found footage, showing how she sources and organises this material into finished works which break the rectangle, smashing the thin screen into tiny fragments, looking beyond the frame, climbing through to see what’s behind. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.
Gone, Gone Beyond is an immersive a/v spatial cinema work by People Like Us (Vicki Bennett), which breaks the rectangle, smashing the thin screen into tiny fragments, looking beyond the frame, climbing through to see what’s behind.
The initial work was commissioned by Naut Humon, the founder of immersive theatre project RML CineChamber, Gone, Gone Beyond is a 10 screen / 8 speaker piece, with seamless wrap around projection and surround sound where the audience sit inside. It comprises of movie and musical compositions, animated and sample-based/Musique concrète collage juxtaposed with content filmed/recorded by the artist, all sewn together in a giant patchwork. Pull on a thread and watch whole new narratives expand and unravel all at once on a 360º palette. The project has been a work in progress since 2017, and is showing for the first time in Autumn 2021 in feature length format.
The works title and underlying concepts come from the Heart Sutra, a key Buddhist text, describing how all phenomena are empty in form yet ultimately interconnected. The last lines of the Heart Sutra say ‘gate gate pāragate pārasamgate bodhi svāhā’, which means “gone, gone beyond, gone beyond that a bit more, and then beyond that a bit further”. This reflects perfectly the action of going beyond the frame to where there are no edges to the narrative – just emptiness.
In this 360º format, time and space becomes elasticated, with the use of collaged video furthering the reflection on how information comes to us as fragments and that nothing is fixed. A new narrative-thread is woven in the mind of each viewer every time the work is seen, limited only to that exact time and space – just as the Heart Sutra reminds us that the only constant is change, and everything is related with no fixed source.
The initial in-process tester movie screened in San Francisco in October 2017 at RML’s own Recombinant Festival at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. Since then the work has been in development, with a private screening event in April 2019 Goldsmiths SIML (with thanks to Sound and Music’s New Voices programme) for potential partners. The work will screen in Oslo (Black Box Teater/nyMusikk), Ipswich (SPILL Festival DanceEast), Brighton (Attenborough Centre For The Creative Arts (ACCA)) and London (Barbican), in Autumn 2021 and Canterbury (The Gulbenkian Centre) in April 2022.
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). Vicki has 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 (2020) and a chapter in Different People – Conversations on Art, Life and the Creative Process by Carl Abrahamsson on Trapart (2021).
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). The May 2021 edition of The Wire features People Like Us – both a 30 year retrospective interview and also the cover photo.
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 2021 PLU make more content and production for Gone, Gone Beyond, an hour-long seamless multiscreen and multi-speakered immersive cinema installation which will tour the UK in Autumn/Winter 2021 to nyMusikk Oslo, SPILL Festival Ipswich, Attenborough Centre (ACCA) Brighton and London Barbican. Vicki has also resumed her radio show DO or DIY with People Like Us on the WFMU Summer Schedule.
We have some prints that we made for our 2011 solo show The Doors of Perspection – each was made in an edition of just one, and we are selling them. We have six different ones that we will gradually put up.
One sold earlier, here are the second two that we’ve just put up, more being added:
People Like Us will guest on Jon Wright‘s show on BBC Radio Suffolk on Monday 12 July 2021 – in a segment called SPILL Spins – selecting 4 significant tracks and talking about them. We will be on after 7pm (UK time). “SPILL” is SPILL Festival, who are partnering with the BBC on this project, pending an announcement very soon! LISTEN : https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09m8qmm
The People Like Us radio show DO or DIY returns to WFMU for the 2021 Summer Schedule starting Monday 7 June, every Monday night right through to September – 7pm EDT (that’s midnight Monday evening UK). https://wfmu.org/peoplelikeus
Hour 1 Vicki and Jon in conversation (recorded May 2021) Hour 2 Live Session with PLU, Wobbly and Don Joyce on Over The Edge, KPFA (2002) Hour 3 Live Session with PLU, Wobbly, Irene Moon and The Evolution Control Committee on WFMU (2002)
Vicki Bennett compiles a comprehensive soundtrack to her Wire cover feature, piecing together 30 years’ worth of work in a new mix:
“Collage makes sense of things in a manner that our brain understands”, says samplist Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us, speaking to contributor Abi Bliss in The Wire 447. “Because of these fragmental parts and the way we assemble information, collage is like the working of the brain”.
In her cover feature interview, Bennett discusses the influence of Buddhism, the subversion of popular culture and the auto-regenerative nature of cut and paste, as well as her audio-visual multi-screen project Gone, Gone Beyond, which is set to tour the UK and Oslo this year. Here, the prolific artist reflects on 30 years in the field of collage and sampling with a retrospective mix, packed full of solo and collaborative releases and radio works spanning her long career.
People Like Us “Music Of Your Own” (2000) People Like Us “Smash And Grab” (1994) People Like Us with Adrian Phillips aka Mr Rotorvator “Country Drives” (1995) People Like Us “A Crossed Line” (1995) People Like Us, Wobbly, Peter Conheim & Don Joyce (KFJC California) (1998) People Like Us, Charles Powne (Chuckles) “Untitled” (KBOO Oregon) (1998) People Like Us “Jingle” (1999) People Like Us, Wobbly & The Jet Black Hair People “KZSU 14 Sept 99” (1999) People Like Us with Rik Patten, Drew Daniel, MC Schmidt, Peter Conheim & Adrian Phillips “Hi There” (2000) People Like Us “Whistle Song” (2000) People Like Us “Sugar And Splice” (2000) People Like Us “Nobody Does” (2000) People Like Us “Dolphy” (2000) People Like Us “Millennium Dome” (1998) People Like Us “Swinglargo” (2000) People Like Us “Stifled Love” (2002) People Like Us with MC Schmidt “Scott Slim” (2002) People Like Us & Wobbly “OB & Cha Cha (Live At Other Cinema, ATA)” (2002) People Like Us, Wobbly & Don Joyce “Baby is Three II Over The Edge” (2002) People Like Us “Gongexeva” (2003) People Like Us & Kenny G “I’ve Got You” (2003) People Like Us, Matmos & Wobbly “Morning (Live At SF Art Institute)” (2003) People Like Us, Matmos & Wobbly “Dolly Pardon (Live At SF Art Institute)” (2003) People Like Us “The Doody Waltz (John Peel Session)” (2004) People Like Us “Listen To The” (2004) People Like Us “Downtown Once More” (2004) People Like Us “Blue Bayou” (2006) People Like Us “Everyday” (2006) People Like Us “Stand By Your” (2006) People Like Us “Social Dance Song” (DO or DIY, WFMU) (2007) People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “A Bastard’s Waltz” (2007) People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “Pierrot’s Persecution Mania” (2007) People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “Snow Day” (2007) People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “Soggy Style” (2007) People Like Us “On The Rooftops Of London” (Mixing It, BBC) (2007) People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “In The Waking” (2008) People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “Moon” (2008) People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz “Singin’ Femme Fatale” (2008) People Like Us “Lavender White” (2010) People Like Us & Wobbly “Female Convict” (2010) People Like Us & Wobbly “Pain” (2010) People Like Us “Sing” (2011) People Like Us “The Sound Of The End Of Music” (2011) People Like Us “Abridge” (2013) People Like Us “Who’s Watching Who” (2014) People Like Us “Shopping” (2014) People Like Us “No One Is An Island” (WDR Radio Piece) (2016) People Like Us “All On A Beautiful Day” (2016) People Like Us “The Mirror” (2018) People Like Us “Listen With Your Eyes” (2019) People Like Us “Forever” (2018)
This is on sale at The Wire’s online shop from 13 April 2021 and from selected newsagents, record and book shops from 15 April 2021. The digital edition of the issue is published online at Exact Editions and in the Wire app.
Online and Brussels Mill, Belgium 29|04|2021 – 02|05|2021
Four day festival in Brussels taking its name from radio pioneer Daphne Oram. The festival will also broadcast audio via its website regardless. Featuring talks, concerts and workshops from People Like Us, Catherine Lamb, Daphne Oram, Farida Amadou, Lucretia Dalt, Goodiepal & Pals, Áine O’Dwyer, Jessica Ekomane, Jonáš Gruska and Lukas De Clerck. Online and Brussels Mill, 29 April–2 May.
Here’s an interview conducted by Henry Andersen of Oscillation Festival Vicki Bennett about process.
People Like Us will have a special one hour audio mix broadcast on the radio, and you can watch The Mirror online via their website, for the entirety of the festival.
Discrepant Press Release: Continuing our ambitious People Like Us vinyl reissue program with Welcome Aboard – a strangely relevant 10-year-old album (originally released in May 2011 on Illegal Art) when People Like Us aka Vicki Bennett became stranded in the US after the Icelandic Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption closed much of northern Europe’s airspace.
Volcanically marooned in Baltimore and NYC, Bennett utilized some of her “free” time to work on the album and even gained audio contributions from fellow experimental musicians Jason Willett (of Half Japanese) and M.C. Schmidt (of Matmos) via her extended stay.
Bennett derived thematic material of displacement, travel, and a longing for elsewhere from the natural disaster that caused her own predicament. Now strangely echoed by the Covid-19 outbreak and the various grounding of planes and stay at home policies worldwide.
While the general mashup culture often centres on the instant gratification of seamlessly juxtaposing hooks, People Like Us tracks transform the source material into collages that are equal parts dissonance and pleasure, making artful commentaries on our culture and Bennett’s own existential amusement within such a wondrous world. No one could have predicted how relevant this album would have been 10 years later.
LP TRACKLIST: A1. Sing A2. What Will I Do A3. Push The Clouds Away A4. The Sound Of The End Of Music A5. Wonderful Wonderful B1. Hush B2. Driving Flying Rising Falling B3. The Atlantic Conveyor B4. Wandering B5. Ever
This is the LP vinyl version with an instant mp3 download of the longer CD version of the album.
Welcome Abroad is the soundtrack to a dream – overlaying a cabaret with the circus, a music hall with the radio, a nightclub with the movies. Finely tuned sounds from the collective unconscious, fitted together with care and clarity and skill, producing a hallucinatory landscape that shifts and slides, shimmering with each new sample. Julie Andrews duets with Jim Morrison? Damn.” – Steinski
Includes unlimited streaming of Welcome Abroad via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
Yes, it’s true! People Like Us will be on the cover of the new edition of The Wire magazine, May 2021 edition, coming out in April. Inside you will find a career retrospective interview. If you cannot find The Wire in your local newsagents you can buy it here: https://www.thewire.co.uk/