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.
THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS
new book by Gregor Weichbrodt, Vicki Bennett
Paperback & pdf, 569 Pages
Buy the paperback book: http://www.lulu.com/shop/gregor-weichbrodt-and-vicki-bennett/the-fundamental-questions/paperback/product-21696219.html
You can now also purchase the book from The Wire magazine bookshop
Free downloadable pdf here or here
Update 2020: there is now a second edition to be available exclusively on site only at Hallwalls to coincide with Vicki’s solo exhibition First Person, Fourth Wall.
You may be familiar with the music, film, radio and stills work of People Like Us but this is the first step into this medium. Although we’ve written essays, we’ve not written a book before. And we still haven’t! This content is sourced from online, developed online over the course of a 10-day conversation with Gregor Weichbrodt after we observed that searching for answers on a particular internet website possibly reflected and paralleled deeper questions within life…
Who am I? Where do I come from? What is my purpose in Life and what happens when I die? For centuries people have tried to come up with answers regarding the fundamental questions of life. Then the internet was invented and these questions have finally been answered – by users.
The Fundamental Questions captures them in an inspiring record of epic proportions where every individual verse becomes a mantra of a mind-expanding collective thought. It reminds us, that one single answer is never the answer.
Thousands of user profiles from the web were parsed, matched according to four questions and sorted in an alphabetical order.
“I am the gambling of the fraudulent; I am the splendour of the splendid; I am victory; I am determination; I am the goodness of the good. I am a huge animal lover and love to spend time with my chinchilla and 2 pet rats.” – from the excellent piece of mashed-up uncreative writing called “The Fundamental Questions.” From Vicki Bennett and Gregor Weichbrodt. Further confirmation that the best use of appropriation in art is with a healthy dose of humor and joy. [And it comes in a paperback, almost the same size as your pink, half-read copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.] — Kevin Hamilton
Related item: I am that I am – A Twitterbot that combines verses from the Bhagavad Gita with user profile texts from the web. I am that I am @newmantras