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 RML Cinechamber, with 10-screen work "Gone, Gone Beyond". Also a new People Like Us live performance "The Mirror" premiered at Onassis Cultural Centre Athens in Spring 2018 and now tours worldwide. October 2018 saw the release of a new CD/online album also called The Mirror. Vicki is a participant in Sound and Music New Voices 2018 programme, a-n Artist Bursaries 2019 recipient, and is Hallwalls Artist in Residence from 2019-2020.
“Different People” is an anthology of interviews by Swedish author Carl Abrahamsson, focusing on art, life and the creative process. Included are in-depth conversations with Conrad Rooks, Malcolm McLaren, Stelarc, John Duncan, Charles Gatewood, Mark McCloud, Ralph Metzner, Peter Beard, Bill Landis, Ralph Gibson, Maja Elliott, Michael Bowen, Bob Colacello, Dian Hanson, Anton Corbijn, June Newton, Kendell Geers, Simeon Coxe III (Silver Apples), Vicki Bennett (People Like Us), and Brian Williams (Lustmord). These groundbreaking artists, writers, musicians, photographers, filmmakers, editors and psychedelic researchers have all helped shape the culture we live in. But what makes them do what they do? Which are their driving forces and their inspirations; their joys and fears? Trapart Books, 2021, 6 x 9” paperback, illustrated with photographic portraits, 292 pages.
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). In 2020 Vicki will have 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.
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).
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 Vicki is making more content and production for Gone, Gone Beyond, an hour-long seamless multiscreen and multi-speakered immersive installation with RML CineChamber which will tour the UK in Autumn/Winter 2021 (announcement coming soon).
Nothing Can Turn Into A Void, the doc film about People Like Us will screen in Stockholm, Sweden on 26 November at 7pm
at Fylkingen, Torkel Knutssonsgatan 2, 118 25 Stockholm, Sweden
Two films by Carl Abrahamsson. TRAPART FILM, Sverige 2015.
Introduced by Carl Abrahamsson
Entrance: 100/80 kr (medlemmar & studerande)
NOTHING CAN TURN INTO A VOID
– AN ART APART: PEOPLE LIKE US British artist Vicki Bennett takes you on a roller coaster-ride with her art project People Like Us. In performances, videos, collages and music, her amazing editing techniques and sense of humor leave you flabbergasted and enthusiastic at the same time. People Like Us is like free-zone where appropriation meets alchemy, humor meets social critique and the boundless imagination meets reality (so called). 58 mins. A film by Carl Abrahamsson, Sweden, 2015.
ONCE THE TOOTHPASTE IS OUT OF THE TUBE – AN ART APART: CHARLES GATEWOOD American photographer Charles Gatewood started out in the 1960s as a young man with dreams of showing the world the radical cultural developments that were going on in his country. He met many of the iconic instigators of change and documented them for posterity. As the decades passed, Gatewood drifted more and more into a personal expression of sexual subcultures, both in America and abroad. His powerful photos of pioneers within the tattooing- and piercing scenes helped pave the way for the movement that was to be called “Modern Primitives”. It’s a classic example of when art, and in this example, specifically photography, merges with its general environment and takes on new forms that are impossible to stop. Or, as the San Francisco based photographer himself describes it: “Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can’t put it back”.
58 mins. A film by Carl Abrahamsson, Sweden, 2015.
NOTHING CAN TURN INTO A VOID – an hour-long doc film about People Like Us is now completed and available. If you are a festival or event organiser and wish to screen this film please get in touch with the creator Carl Abrahamsson direct by contacting jakob AT trapartfilm.com or carl AT trapartfilm.com. If you have previously booked People Like Us for a concert and are interested, please get in touch with us direct through our Contact page. You can also watch this movie for free courtesy of our friends at UbuWeb, or watch below.
British artist Vicki Bennett’s work within the project called “People Like Us” takes you on a journey into a world where literally anything can happen. Using her skills as an editor and a great sense of humor, she lets you roam through a world of imagination filled with contrasts and chance encounters between the past and the present. In performances, video work, music and collages, Bennett conveys that nothing is really what it seems. For more information, please visit: Trapart Film
Screenings so far:
October 2015 – Huset, Copenhagen November 2015 – Brighton Cinecity Film Festival November 2015 – Fylkingen, Stockholm January 2016-ongoing – UbuWeb July 2016 – Norberg Festival, Sweden October 2016 – Spectacle Theater, Brooklyn November 2018 – Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo
Carl Abrahamsson is in the process of producing a series of films about the following artists: Kenneth Anger, Charles Gatewood, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Michael Gira, Vicki Bennett, Mark McCloud, Andrew McKenzie, Gustaf Broms, Carl Michael von Hausswolff and Angela Edwards
“Over the years, I’ve more and more realized that what I do is basically the same thing over and over, yet in new forms. That is: meeting interesting people, listening to what they have to say, and then filter that for others. Whether it’s been materialized in writing or photography, it’s a documentation mania I can’t seem to shake. And don’t want to either.
The focus, as the name implies, is on art and artists who go against the grain or in some ways stand out as integrity pioneers. As the art world and its Molochian markets become more and more commodified and drained of creative vitality, there needs to be an inspirational influx of revitalizing energy and ideas. It is my hope that these conversations with radical movers and shakers will help provide just that.”