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.
14 February – 7 March 2014 (Preview 13 February 5-7pm)
Leeds College of Art Blenheim Walk, Leeds, UK
Shutter is a new audio-visual exhibition by film and sound collagist Vicki Bennett that enables us to peer into a parallel cinematic world that exists between the edits, when we are not looking at the screen. http://www.leeds-artexhibitions.co.uk/?p=1180
The exhibition consists of three a/v video works (one projected and two on video monitors) and nine prints. There is also an edition of 20 of two of these prints.
“The Big Sleep”  Video (19 mins, 12 secs)
Sleep deficient actors drift in and out of consciousness.
“Blink”  Video (1 hour, 35 mins, 39 secs)
Every frame missed while watching A Nightmare on Elm Street.
“Dreaming”  Video (4 mins, 16 secs)
VICKI BENNETT “SHUTTER”
“Shutter” is a new audio-visual exhibition that enables us to peer into a parallel cinematic world that exists between the edits, when we are not looking at the screen.
Actors aren’t seen to rest a lot in films, considering people on average sleep 8 hours a day. More often than not, feature films contain a stream of attention-grabbing imagery and noise, and if the mood does slow down there is still dialogue, music and other distractions.
In feature films we don’t see the real-time flow of everyday life, we don’t see the actors queuing, watching TV, reading a book, sleeping. Nor do we witness the mundane – we see the James Bond car chase but no stopping off to eat a panini. Reality can be brought back into film by revealing actors in their normal, uneventful moments. Actors need to sleep as well. Where do they go after a film has ended? What do we miss when we blink while watching a movie? What is it really like on the other side of the screen? This exhibition addresses these subjects and attempts to take us to these places.
2 editions of 20 (below) – purchase from our shop
Since 1991 Vicki Bennett has been working across the field of audio-visual collage, and is recognized 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 have previously shown work at Tate Modern, The Barbican, Centro de Cultura Digital, Maxxi and Sonar, and performed radio sessions for John Peel and Mixing It. In 2006 Vicki was the first artist to be given unrestricted access to the entire BBC Archive. The ongoing sound art radio show ‘DO or DIY’ on WFMU has had over a million “listen again” downloads since 2003. The People Like Us back catalogue is available for free download hosted by UbuWeb. https://peoplelikeus.org/category/biography/
We have two more prints available for sale for a reasonable price and even more reasonable combined price (see below), both the cover art to two recent People Like Us album covers. All prints are on Fujicolor Crystal Archive Paper and signed on the reverse.
WELCOME ABROAD (21 x 18.5cm)
All prices are in US Dollars and INCLUDE postage and packing.
Please note, we are offering a large discount if you buy BOTH at once.
Paypal links below.
DON’T THINK RIGHT, IT’S ALL TWICE (30.5 x 24cm)
As part of our SHUTTER solo exhibition at Leeds College of Art we are pleased to make available a very limited edition of 2 B/W giclee prints, both in an edition of 20. We are selling these at a very reasonable price as a result of actually wanting you to have them rather than adhering to the art gallery rules of making things too expensive and unavailable to most people.
All prices are in US Dollars and INCLUDE postage and packing. Please note, we are offering a large discount if you buy BOTH at once. Paypal links below.
Leeds College of Art
Blenheim Walk, Leeds LS2 9AQ, UK
5 March – 8 June 2012
Vicki Bennett’s recent prints will be on show in this exhibition. We have also lined up a Vicki Bennett/People Like Us solo show for Spring 2014.
We just got some images from our exhibit “Parade” at Hatton Gallery in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, so are sharing them with you. They come courtesy of Colin Davison (so please credit him if you share further).
More about Parade here – http://www.peoplelikeus.org/2009/parade.html
Thanks to those of you who saw the first two performances of the new People Like Us live set, at Vancouver New Music Festival, and WFMU Record Fair and received it so well! Here’s a collection of photos – firstly of Vicki with Pseu Braun, Irene Moon and Brian Turner at the Record Fair, then some stills from the New Music Festival.
Download larger images and learn more about Genre Collage here.
Click on images below to download the larger version (around 2MB).
Please credit where listed, otherwise credit People Like Us. For photographs of People Like Us with Ergo Phizmiz ONLY use these for JOINT advertisements.
Please note: the film stills are from the original QuickTime movies, and therefore the size you get them is the size that they will always be, in 72dpi resolution. If you need it to be a different dpi then do go to Photoshop and resample the image as such yourself. We have resampled some for you.
ONLY use this row for People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz
Documentation of the People Like Us Retrospective at alt.gallery
alt.gallery (entry via alt.vinyl) 61/62 Thornton Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4AW.
16 May-12 July 2008
alt.gallery is pleased to announce the first retrospective exhibition of work by People Like Us (aka Vicki Bennett).
For the past seventeen years British artist Vicki Bennett has been an influential figure in the field of audio visual collage, through her innovative sampling, appropriating and cutting up of found footage and archives. Using collage as her main form of expression, she creates audio recordings, films and radio shows that communicate a humorous, dark and often surreal view on life. The exhibition will focus on the concept of collage, showing an edited selection of her work, including twenty album releases, numerous singles and remixes, live sets, seven films and over a hundred and fifty radio shows. These collages mix, manipulate and rework original sources from both the experimental and popular worlds of music, film, television and radio. People Like Us believe in open access to archives for creative use, and have made work using footage from the Prelinger Archives, The Internet Archive, and A/V Geeks. 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 Tate Modern, Sydney Opera House, Pompidou Center and Sonar, and performed radio sessions for John Peel and Mixing It. The ongoing sound art radio show ‘Do or DIY’ on WFMU has had over a million “listen again” hits since 2003. The People Like Us back catalogue is available for free download hosted by UbuWeb.
Every week during the exhibition a different collection of special downloads from the People Like Us archive will be available from the gallery, bring your memory stick along for a free take away!
ESSAY BY DR DREW DANIEL
A specially commissioned essay by Dr. Drew Daniel of Matmos accompanies the exhibition. Download pdf here. Drew’s essay can also be linked to here
Download a larger version of this flyer here
Download the poster (featured top right) here
The exhibition also included a framed essay by Rick Prelinger on The Virtues of Preexisting Material. Here is an excerpt:
On the Virtues of Preexisting Material
© Rick Prelinger 2007
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License
1 Why add to the population of orphaned works?
2 Don’t presume that new work improves on old
3 Honor our ancestors by recycling their wisdom
4 The ideology of originality is arrogant and wasteful
5 Dregs are the sweetest drink
6 And leftovers were spared for a reason
7 Actors don’t get a fair shake the first time around, let’s give them another
8 The pleasure of recognition warms us on cold nights and cools us in hot summers
9 We approach the future by typically roundabout means
10 We hope the future is listening, and the past hopes we are too
11 What’s gone is irretrievable, but might also predict the future
12 Access to what’s already happened is cheaper than access to what’s happening now
13 Archives are justified by use
14 Make a quilt not an advertisement
Download a pdf of the full text here, or link to the essay here.
The exhibition will also launch a new CD curated by Vicki Bennett for Sonic Arts Network called ‘Smiling Through My Teeth’, a compilation of humorous music and sound art.
People Like Us Special on WFMU
Thursday 15 May, 11pm-midnight (UK time) www.wfmu.org/playlists/ER – To celebrate the exhibition opening Ergo Phizmiz hosts a People Like Us Special on his show ‘Phuj Phactory’ on WFMU, both on terrestrial radio and live internet stream.
People Like Us Talk and Screening
Friday 16 May, 7:30pm
Star and Shadow Cinema, Stepney Bank, Newcastle
Vicki Bennett presents a selection of films by People Like Us.
The Late Shows: Smiling Through My Teeth CD Launch
Saturday 17 May, 7pm-11pm
The Late Shows form part of NewcastleGateshead’s world-class festivals and events programme. www.thelateshows.org.uk
Many thanks to Rebecca Shatwell for inviting us to do this retrospective, it was great fun to work together. Rebecca is now director of AV Festival.
The online edition of People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz’s album, “Honeysuckle Boulevard”, which came out at the beginning of 2007 as a free ten inch vinyl release and is now deleted, can now be downloaded for free here, and at the WFMU Blog here. It includes vinyl label artwork, an info text file and also two bonus tracks. The bonus tracks have never before been made available for release or download. If you love vinyl we have a few on sale in our shop, by way of Paypal – price includes Postage and Packing.
Download the audio either as a zip file containing all the tracks, or grab each individual MP3.
Side B, Merry Go Mambo Suite
For more background information on this project, please read on.
Honeysuckle Boulevard, a self-released 10 inch record (Limited Edition 500 numbered copies) was available from selected record stores/galleries (in exchange for a voucher)
from January 15th-March 31st 2007. This offer is now expired (although we have a few copies for sale in our shop for a very cheap price)
Archived press release (January 2007):
This is the debut collaborative release by artists People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz, available for free at selected galleries and independent record stores in the UK, the continent and US.
Both artists operate on the cusp of both experimental and pop culture, creating radio, audio and DVD releases, film and A/V multimedia. Their work combines an irreverent approach with a probing curiosity that explores crossover points between media. By appropriating and recontextualising found footage, they craft collage with equal inflections of wit and impending doom.
This record presents a progressive change for both artists involved. It references their past works, but moves into new territory, resulting in a very collaborative work, much more than the sum of two parts. The music is fundamentally electronic (but not usually sounding so), with references to 1920’s ballroom music, 1950’s easy listening, jazz, cartoon and classical music, seamlessly melding diverse elements into a dynamic, rhythmic patchwork. They combine appropriation with live instrumentation and vocals, with very open tangential musical structures. With nonsense lyrics that are equally Brothers Grimm and Edward Lear and accompanying slapstick interjections, the result is in an exciting and humorous work.
Recent works include Ergo Phizmiz’s large-scale piece “M: 1000 Year Mix” funded by the Arts Council of England/Match My Foot Records, and “Wholepole – The Discotheque of Erotic Misery” for BBC Radio 3. People Like Us recently released the album “All Together Now”, and is also Artist in Residence at the BBC Creative Archive. Both artists are currently collaborating on a full length CD release entitled “Perpetuum Mobile”, to be released in April 2007 on Soleilmoon Recordings. In addition, both artists broadcast experimental arts shows on the freeform New York radio/internet station WFMU.
This product will be available in the following stores from January 15th to March 31st 2007.
Aquarius (San Francisco)
Bimbo Tower (Paris)
Le Bonheur (Brussels)
Matéria Prima (Porto)
Rough Trade, Neal’s Yard (London)
Tate Modern (London)
A uniquely labelled voucher (one per person – all IP addresses are logged) can be requested by filling in the form below, and specifying which of the above stores the customer would like to collect from. Once you have sent your request we ask that you be patient, you will hear from us with a voucher shortly before 15th January, or if you order after this date then very soon.
This venture is totally non-profit, for artists and retailer, and has been met with great enthusiasm from the host stores. In fact the demand from additional stores that wish to participate exceeded the amount of records that can be supplied.
The marketing aspect of this project is partly a humorous self-parody, in that both artists have favoured the internet as their primary means of distribution and now are encouraging people to go into real shops again and “buy” their music for free. This novelty form of distribution combines the tradition of regular shopping with free downloading, stretching the notion of the “gift economy” to its limits. “Below the radar” artists have difficulty with physical distribution of their work because of the poor state of business for non-chart releases combined with saturation of the market. However, this isn’t a reflection of a lack of audience interest; People Like Us’ album “Abridged Too Far” and Ergo Phizmiz’s “White Light White Heat” have collectively amassed in excess of 50,000 mp3 downloads, so there is no shortage of audience to be testing these theories on.