Category Archives: press

Review in scenekunst.no of Gone, Gone Beyond in OSLO

http://www.scenekunst.no/sak/psykedelisk-meditasjon/
KRITIKK 15.10.2021 Mariken Lauvstad
KinoKammer
Vicki Bennett (People Like Us) / Lasse Marhaug:
Gone, Gone Beyond + For My Abandoned Left Eye
Black Box Teater / nyMusikk / Double premieres October 13, 2021

The art event Kinokammer consists of two works made by noise artist Lasse Marhaug and the British video artist Vicki Bennett, better known under the artist name ‘People Like Us’. Both works are world premieres and are shown as a collaboration between Black Box theater and nyMusikk. CineChamber is a cross-genre format based on a concept developed by San Francisco-based Recombinant Media Labs, called CineChamber . The format frames the audience in a 360-degree moving audio and video landscape.

At the Black Box theater, Kinokammer is a so-called double ticket . First Marhaug’s work For My Abandoned Left Eye (2021) and then Bennett’s Gone, Gone Beyond (2021). The public can bring the wine glasses from the foyer into the exhibition hall. Rows of chairs are set up along three of the room’s four walls, while scattered seat cushions are placed on the floor. Thus, the audience will consider other spectators’ eyes and reactions as part of the art experience. Before the screening of Marhaug’s work really begins, an atmosphere is established where small talk and wine drinking are buzzed in the room for several minutes. Whether this is intentional or not, it creates a kind of ‘we’ in the room, an experience of sharing something. This sets a precedent that adds an extra dimension to the art event that will grow and develop throughout the screenings.

Marhaug describes his work as a ‘post-capitalist-science-fiction-noise film’. It is so far a decent genre description, but I experience in a way the work as more ordinary than that, at least visually. We are in a world that is preferably in black and white. We see images and fragments of forest and nature against hard building structures and remains and traces of man-made objects. Garbage, a sneaker, a sofa, an animal foot. The totality appears raw, wet, cool and hard, not only visually, but also acoustically. Occasionally, the film material is contrasted by abstract images, such as massively pulsating black spots, close together against a white background.

A mass bombardment that challenges the senses
Each projected movie sequence apparently has its own and ever-changing soundtrack. This constantly creates new and different layer-on-layer effects. The soundscape gives, among other things, associations to machine repetitions and massive metal grinders against crackling and crackling in various qualities, auditory textures that for a few moments remind me of the feeling of stinging icy rain or penetrating intense wheezing in the ears. Suddenly, small interruptions occur with the absence of noise before new images and sounds are fired at us like projectiles. It is a mass bombardment that challenges the senses and the distinction between impression and disturbance. Finally, I’m not sure if I actually hear sampled cries, the noise of a full room of screaming people, or if it’s just my brain that tricks me into thinking I sense these cries through the noise. I go out filled with a kind of unpleasant dizziness and with aching retinas. The work leaves an eco-deterministic turmoil in me that I need far more than thirty minutes to digest and reset myself from, and this also constitutes my objection to two such different works being put together.

After the break, we are thrown out on a completely different journey. This time, some have lain down on their backs, some close their eyes, some just sit relaxed and sip on the evening’s second or third glass of wine. All four walls are projected close together with flaming candles. The picture is obviously strikingly kitsch, almost ironic. Gradually we can hear sounds reminiscent of a crowd of stomping boot steps mixed with an indefinable hiss from insects and crickets, and a diffuse hum from distant, manipulated choruses. It is difficult to interpret and place the soundscape, and I also do not have time to get very far before the whole room is almost sucked through a kind of visual tunnel. The bass makes the floor below us vibrate, and we are pulled at breakneck speed through countless projected doors. This estimate reinforces the illusion of being in a simulator. It is as if a virtual wind has suddenly blown us away and we are suddenly sitting on a flying carpet, traveling through the artist’s subconscious, where playful pop cultural references are replaced by nightmarish and disturbing images. The audience looks in all possible directions as if to orientate themselves in constantly new places.

As if David Lynch were to take ayahuasca in the desert
The editing technique is extremely good, and the dramaturgy has a kind of kaleidoscopic associative form at the same time as each picture is just so easy to interpret that you can get caught in a new hook that throws you in the head. new associations before being torn loose and thrown into the next. This is as if David Lynch had taken ayahuasca in the desert and made a film of what he hallucinated afterwards. We are constantly somewhere between dream and nightmare, for example when we see Julie Andrews dancing carefree between tree trunks while war helicopters thunder across the sky while the world goes up in flames and explodes around her. We see prairie pictures with saguaro cacti and hear the sound of unpleasant radio signals. The chimney sweep from Singing in the Rain disappears into animated pipes, we see oil barrels burning and growing nebulae, barely hearing the sound of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both sides now’, glimpsing the globe from space (or is it a disco ball?), being drawn to the sound of lyre boxes and suddenly surrounded by giant funfair horses.

In the popular cultural references, a darker contemporary commentary is hidden. Most of the references are from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and in contrast to beautiful images of the universe’s darkness, celestial bodies and galaxy fog, an experience is created that time flows through space and pulls us through the cosmos at relentless speed. The work opens the gaze to the paradoxical and random of our popular cultural history, the powerless and merciless in that we have created what we have created, and nothing else.

The work also makes me philosophize about what can be called a performance. There are no actors or actors here, but I experience in return that we audiences become part of it. At one point a man rushes out of the room, a woman overturns a bottle, some get up from their chairs and walk around smiling or looking. None of this bothers me as it would in many other contexts. At one point there is one who laughs, and after this it is as if something in the room dissolves, the reactions become freer and more expressive. People respond and come up with small exclamations. The work would therefore not have been the same if I experienced it alone, and then maybe it’s a performance anyway?

In sum, I still think the two parts of tonight’s double ticket should have been shown separately. They are both so strong and intense works that they leave different resonances and reflections it would have been nice to have time to dwell on separately.

Review as pdf

The Wire Cover Pic!

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.

Includes a career-covering interview and the above cover picture. On The Wire website we’ve shared a 4.5 hour (no point trying to be popular now, is there!) mix of People Like Us, Spenser Tomson has made a selection of PLU tracks, and our 2020 movie Fourth Wall will screen later in the month.

ALL COMMISSION ENQUIRIES OR BOOKINGS FOR GONE, GONE BEYOND ARE TO BE DONE DIRECTLY WITH US THROUGH OUR CONTACT PAGE.

First Person, Fourth Wall – Hallwalls Artist in Residence (HARP)

People Like Us (Vicki Bennett) First Person, Fourth Wall
A Hallwalls Artists-in-Residence Project (HARP)
Friday, 11 September – Friday, 23 October 2020
https://www.hallwalls.org/visual/6216.html

HALLWALLS CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER, 341 DELAWARE AVE. BUFFALO, NY 14202
Gallery hours: Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm | Saturday 11am-2pm
Curated by Carolyn Tennant |Radio content Programmed by Vicki Bennett

This multi-tiered project features an onsite new film and 6 channel audio collage work in the Hallwalls gallery, a virtual film retrospective, and a series of online micro-commissions programmed by the artist, where collaborators across the field of visual, audio and textual art respond to the subjects of first person / the fourth wall. The retrospective screening features archive and new content from Vicki Bennett’s 30 years of creating work under the name People Like Us. To coincide with the exhibition is a new second edition of her artist’s book The Fundamental Questions co-authored with Gregor Weichbrodt, available exclusively in house at Hallwalls, all made possible in part with a major grant to HARP (Hallwalls Artists-in-Residence Project) from the Multidisciplinary program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a federal agency, with additional support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Visual Art Program of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), M&T Bank, and Erie County.

The commissions and elements from the onsite exhibition are archived at WFMU from 11 September 2020, alongside visual elements on the accompanying web pages, which will be linked to with QR codes in the accompanying gallery brochure.

Chapter about People Like Us in new Kenneth Goldsmith book

Duchamp Is My Lawyer
The Polemics, Pragmatics, and Poetics of UbuWeb
Kenneth Goldsmith
Columbia University Press

Really honoured to be in our good friend Kenneth Goldsmith’s book, he gave us a whole chapter. Click on the link below to find out more and purchase one. Or DOWNLOAD! Review here.

The Mirror at Venice Biennale

People Like Us will perform The Mirror at Venice Biennale on 9 May 2019 at 9.30pm after the opening reception at the following, as well as being part of the UbuWeb cinema programme:

Title: HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails.
Artist: Kenneth Goldsmith.
Curators: Francesco Urbano Ragazzi.
Opening Hours: 11 am – 7 pm, closed on Monday.
Venue: Despar Teatro Italia, Campiello de l’Anconeta 1944, Cannaregio, 30121 Venezia.
From May 9th to November 24th, 2019.

Opening Reception: May 9th, 2019. From 7:30 pm to 11 pm.
Live performance by People Like Us from 9:30 pm.

Cinema program: every day from 6 pm to 7 pm, closed on Monday
Works by: Peggy Ahwesh, Johanna Bruckner, Alex Da Corte, Cheryl Donegan, Shadi Habib Allah, Bek Hyunjin, Lev Manovich, Alix Pearlstein, People Like Us, Christine Rebet, Sabrina Röthlisberger, Sara Sackner, Leah Singer, Stan VanDerBeek, Jennifer West, Jordan Wolfson.

Breaking news: Hillary visits the exhibition 🙂 (September 2019)
Despar Teatro Italia is by day a Spar Supermarket

HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails is a project by The Internet Saga and Zuecca Projects
Main sponsor: Despar
 Aspiag Service
With the collaboration of Circuitozero, The Bauers, Dipartimento di Filosofia e Beni Culturali – Università Ca’ Foscari.
Media partner: My Art Guides, Le Confort Moderne.
Website by 
M-J-STUDIO

For further inquiries / RSVP: info@internetsaga.com /GO TO THE PRESS PACK

a-n Artist Bursaries 2019

Happy to say Vicki Bennett is one of the recipients of the a-n Artist Bursaries 2019 – more about this later in the year.

162 artists based throughout the UK have been awarded a share of £200,000 to fund their professional development in the latest round of a-n Artist Bursaries.

a-n Artist members were invited to apply for bursaries up to £1,500 to fund self-generated activities such as research, training, travel, community projects, learning new skills or building networks.

An ambitious, one-of-a-kind annual programme that supports artists at a crucial time in their practice, the a-n bursary programme received a record 853 applications this year.

The bursaries aim to be ‘light touch’, requiring artists to complete a simple application detailing what the money will be used for and why it is crucial.

Julie Lomax, a-n CEO and bursaries selection panel member, said: “The standard this year was really high, making the selection very tough. We are thrilled to be able to support so many artists with such a diverse range of projects. Personalised development opportunities like this are vital.”

The bursaries will fund a range of new artist-initiated projects spanning themes such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence, climate change, zines, cultural history and identity. Artists also applied to attend conferences or residencies around the world, develop their socially engaged practice, and grow their networks with peers and mentors.

The selection panel also included a-n Artists Council member Binita Walia, independent curator Lucy Day and successful 2018 bursary recipient Owen Parry.

Parry said: “It was a privilege to be part of the selection process and see all the different projects artists want to fund. As an artist with experience of funding from this bursary programme, I could directly contribute to the process of selecting individuals that were most likely to benefit.”