THE WIRE 40: AN EVENING WITH PEOPLE LIKE US
Friday 1 July 2022 | The Cube, Bristol UK
Doors: 7pm / short films programme: 8pm
A programme of film shorts by People Like Us
Q&A Vicki Bennett & Emily Bick (The Wire)
Live performance to a new film score by People Like Us with Gwilly Edmondez & Ergo Phizmiz
Review in Tough Sell Zine:
THE WIRE 40: An Evening with People Like Us
@The Cube Microplex (01/07)
Perhaps better known for her audio work, the opening night of The Wire’s 40th birthday celebrations focused on Vicki Bennett’s (aka People Like Us) films.
The evening started with an overview of the artist’s work including maximalist explosions of old industrial documentaries, tongue in cheek pop culture mashups, and recent immersive experiences. For me the extracts of longer works didn’t work so well, never having enough time to fully get into what was going on, but many of the short films were brilliant – from the hilarious mashup of The Hills Are Alive from Sound of Music and This Is The End from Apocalypse Now (The Sound of the End of Music), to the really quite moving combination of depictions of the moon in early experimental and comedy films, with music by Ergo Phizmiz (Moon). What was surprising and delightful was the lack of any cynicism – throughout, Bennett celebrated films from commercials to classics, with an obvious love of the moving image, and the people who made them.
The night really started to come alive with the Q&A with Bennett. The way she talked about her work confirmed her genuine joy in working with existing material. ‘Films want to be friends,’ she replied to questions about how she got things to fit so well together. ‘You do one thing for a long time and magic happens.’
Crowning the evening was a new work, with live performance by Bennett, Ergo Phizmiz and Gwilly Edmondez. It fulfilled the promise teased in the earlier clips, and showed the excellence of Bennett’s work when allowed the space to stretch out, by turns joyous and strange and beguiling. It seemed almost like a celebration of her own career, with clips returning to repeated motifs from earlier work; corridors and cameras, doorways and dreams. As a final encapsulation of the magic Bennett talked of we saw a satanic ritual mixed with a Dadaist poetry exercise; art as a demonic summoning, drawing something from the ether and binding it to yourself.
For this evening Bennett has put together a programme of her rarely-seen short films from the current century. The films will be followed by a discussion between the artist and Wire Deputy Editor Emily Bick, and then the premiere live performance to a new specially-made film score by PLU by the trio of Bennett, Gwilly Edmondez and Ergo Phizmiz.
Emily Bick is Deputy Editor at The Wire magazine.
Gwilly Edmondez is a performer whose primary aesthetic is Wild Pop, active both solo and in numerous collaborations. As Gustav Thomas he is one half of the duo YEAH YOU with Elvin Brandhi. Originally from Wales, he is mostly based in the North East where he has been on the staff of the music department of Newcastle University since 2004.
Ergo Phizmiz is a composer, writer, collagist, radio playwright, opera designer and director, who has created a vast body of work across media since 2000. They are currently designing moving images for The Rake’s Progress at the Royal Academy of Music, and working on the opera Adapting Don Quixote as a PhD at the University of Bristol.
The Wire 40 @ The Cube is a weekend of events marking The Wire magazine’s 40th anniversary. Other Wire 40 events are happening in London, Brighton, Manchester, Glasgow and streaming online during the month of July. See The Wire for more details.