The Mirror is created by first navigating hundreds of preexisting feature length movies, searching for conceptual/actual subject matter pertaining to reflection and projection. The initial idea was to depict the camera as a torch that shines light down dark corridors and as an eye that watches people when they are alone, and then through navigating all the footage to see what new stories emerge. The selected source material was then edited into thousands of snippets which are labelled and the descriptions examined to find similarities and crossovers that might be emerging in descriptions/storylines. A conceptually related soundtrack was then composed in relation to edits on the movie timeline, also created by editing and recombining from sections of hundreds of preexisting songs, as well as sounds from the movies. This is an exercise in editing and juxtaposition, also an investigation, an “operation” working with the premise that if you cut into something and isolate it from its “finished” guise you discover new stories and information relevant to the present and future. Published material is often seen as “finished”, the end of the story, not available for comment, a sealed up museum-like product, isolated on an island, away from ideas and reflections. By use of collage, one can unthread, rewind and redirect content to discover what other stories may be hidden, allowing an active dialogue both with the external content, and also challenge the routine ways in which we may be limiting our own creativity by our own fixed (isolated) ways of thinking. Recombining these hundreds of movie storylines into new combinations can create results that are more than the sum of the parts and beyond our usual pattern of creating stories alone, we are carving new pathways for our minds to (re)explore. — Vicki Bennett
For more information on the working methods and philosophical approach of People Like Us please read: ++ This conversation between Vicki Bennett and Peter Jaeger conducted over the course of Summer 2015. It was published in filling Station Issue 63. Download as a pdf. ++ This conversation between Vicki Bennett and Kenneth Goldsmith in Found Footage Magazine. Buy your copy here. ++ The Mirror can be considered a sister project to our 360 a/v Cinechamber installation “Gone, Gone Beyond”, which you can read about here. ++ Read an interview about “Gone, Gone Beyond” conducted by Hearty White here.
We are pleased to announce a new audiovisual immersive cinema performance by People Like Us called The Mirror, performed (and screened in Theatrical form if in the US) from March 2018 worldwide.
“A feat of research and craft, this new work is a spellbinding inquiry into editing and juxtaposition; a collage one can unthread allowing the viewer to discover hidden stories through familiar images. The soundtrack is performed live, made up from hundreds of preexisting songs, as well as particular sounds from the original film clips.” — Flatpack Film Festival
”With The Mirror Bennett has proven herself an alchemist of popular music, able to push her source material into fresh and engaging places.” — The Wire
”Because of the use of familiar pop sounds, “The Mirror” is often grandiose. Like an epic film only with highs, never letting the listener down or letting him doubt the power of pop. Even, of course, when the coordinates are twisted, mixed, over or underrepresented. Each moment feels like something that could only happen in a parallel universe. Although that may sound naïve, it’s just a lost thought of reaction to the beautiful collages of People Like Us in “The Mirror”. This mirror doesn’t reflect an image of ourselves or an image of pop. But an image on the way memories drift and are being constant rebuilt. An unfinished collage.” — Boomkat
“Bennett celebrates the song stylists, the crooners, the sirens and interpreters of melody, and all the psychedelic in-between. The songs she pulls from seem to stem between 30’s ballroom and 70’s soft disco, here presented like being in a deep REM-state, dreaming of being at the drive-in, in warped Panavision. Essential.” toneshift.net
3/4 March 2023 – The Mirror at TUSK NORTH, Newcastle 18 February 2023 – The Mirror at Electric Spring Festival, University of Huddersfield 29 November 2022 – The Mirror at Ubu@50 at Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb 26 November 2022 – The Mirror at BBMix Festival, Paris 19 November 2022 – The Mirror at Keroxen, Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Spain 5 November 2022 – The Mirror at Intangible Festival, Lleida, Spain 20 October 2022 – The Mirror at Stimul Festival, Prague 9 July – 4 September 2022 – Theatrical screening at Cover Versions curated by Anthony and Graham Dolphin, Exeter Phoenix 3 June 2022 – Open Ears Festival, Kitchener, Canada 21 May 2022 – Live again! At Index Festival, Braga, Portugal April – May 2022 – theatrical screening at Cover Versions curated by Anthony and Graham Dolphin, The Athenaeum, Sunderland Feb – April 2022 – part of gallery exhibition MIND MAPS: The Art of Vicki Bennett – solo exhibition Walla Walla USA 4 December 2021 – Keroxen, Tenerife (postponed – pandemic) 29 April – 2 May 2021 – Online screening of The Mirror, Oscillation Festival, Brussels 21 November 2020 – BBMix Festival 2020, Paris (postponed – pandemic) 6 November 2020 – MAAT, Lisbon – virtual performance of The Mirror 28 July 2020 – 4 August 2020 – Virtual screening (pandemic rescheduling), Le Nouveau Musée National de Monaco 5 March 2020 – Theatrical Screening (not a concert) WFMU Benefit, Monty Hall, Jersey City 28 September 2019 – Theatrical Screening (not a concert), Radius Gallery Santa Cruz, CA 15 September 2019 – Theatrical Screening (not a concert), 21C Museum Hotel, Lexington, KY (introduced by Hearty White) 22 June 2019 – Iklectik Art Lab, London 14 June 2019 – The Mirror and Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear, Culture Lab, Newcastle 9 May 2019 – Venice Biennale at HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails by Kenneth Goldsmith after the opening reception 23 – 28, April 2019 –Theatrical Screening, AFO Olomouc, Czech Republic 6 April 2019 – Theatrical Screening (not live), Other Cinema, ATA, Valencia St, San Francisco 27 March 2019 – Musikbrauerei, Berlin 9 February 2019 – Theatrical Screening (not live) – The Voix de Ville 2019 / ARTxFM, Columbia Theatre, Louisville Kentucky 30 November 2018 – Theatrical Screening (not live, we do not perform in concerts in the US) Recombinant Festival, Gray Area, San Francisco 15 November 2018 – Cinecity Film Festival, Fabrica, Brighton 10 November 2018 – Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo Norway 2 November 2018 – Spill Festival, Ipswich 20 October 2018 – 100 Years of Copyright Festival, HKW, Berlin 19 & 20 September 2018 – Theatrical Screening (not live) – Spectacle Theater, Brooklyn 17 September 2018 – Theatrical Screening (not live) – Bryce’s Show on WFMU 26 July 2018 – MACBA, Barcelona 19 July 2018 – LEV Festival, Arenas Movedizas, Gijón 11 July 2018 – Cafe OTO, London 12 May 2018 – Splice Festival, Rich Mix, London 21 April 2018 – Flatpack Festival, Birmingham 20 April 2018 – Cafe OTO, London 17 April 2018 – Belfast Film Festival, Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast 13 April 2018 – UK Premiere: FACT, Liverpool 18 March 2018 – World Premiere: Athens Greek Film Archive Foundation (as part of Shadow Libraries: UbuWeb in Athens, organised and produced by the Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens)
If you are a festival organiser with a budget and are interested in booking this or anything else, please get in touch by way of our Contact Form. If you are in a country requiring a work visa to perform we can in very special circumstances make this work into a theatrical screening, but generally this is only available as a performance with the artist present and you will need to gain necessary papers for us to agree.
Now that the archive has expired we’re making it available here so you can still hear it
As part of Radio 3’s New Year New Music, Max Reinhardt is joined in the studio by the experimental musician and multimedia artist Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us whose audio collage work involves the manipulation and reworking of sampled material. Presented by Max Reinhardt – Vicki will be on around 11.30pm. Late Junction – BBC Radio 3