A number of new additions have been made to the People Like Us film section on UbuWeb. Go and take a look! http://ubu.com/film/plu.html – all films include download links. Don’t trust the cloud!
Listen http://wfmu.org & broadcasting at 91.1 fm New York, at 90.1 fm in Hudson Valley
Update: Download it here:
Gwilly Edmondez performs solo and in small groups using voice, guitar, pocket samplers, turntables and dictaphones. Music is mostly made up on the spot and usually seeks to align itself with idiomatic contexts rather than avoiding them. Gwilly has spent a lot of time resisting coherence and continuity, to the point where a wilful anti-professionalism can be regarded as his music’s defining characteristic.
Playlists and archives for DO or DIY on WFMU
The 2010 collaboration between People Like Us & Wobbly which became the CD “Music For The Fire” is now available for mp3 download at UbuWeb.
The fruit of many years of work, this album began as People Like Us & Wobbly collected and collaged their way through various depictions of misfired communications and heartbreak sourced from popular culture for a series of live improvisations. Music For The Fire is a plunderphonic concept album depicting the lifespan of a relationship, as told through samples of hundreds of different songs and voices who had no idea they were all telling the same story until they were all spliced together.
It is still available for purchase in CD and FLAC form at Illegal Art.
Vicki Bennett recently discussed the subject of music collecting with Anna Ramos of Radio Web MACBA.
Here is the conversation (also downloadable in pdf form):
EXTRA compiles miscellaneous research materials generated through the activities of RWM. The section includes conversations with artists and curators, additional documentation and transcripts of programs, with the aim of offering a more complete vision of the different research lines of the RWM project.
Later in the year in October RWM will also publish a radio mix and essay by Vicki.
Curated by Kenneth Goldsmith, at the Centro de Cultura Digital, in México City, 27 July-4 August 2013.
We are very pleased to present…
Our audiovisual performance from 2011, THE MAGICAL MISERY TOUR on UbuWeb.
This concert was created between June and September 2011 and premiered at “The Sound of Fear” at London’s Southbank Centre on 3rd September 2011, under the working title of “Horror Collage”. Now that the full length live set has been completed we have changed the name to something more fitting with the content. The source material is 95% from horror movies, with the content portraying not so much a scary nightmare but a journey through the underworld of everyday human experiences. It is not true to say you do not relate to this kind of horror movie. Truth is stranger than fiction. Having said this, People Like Us, as ever, see the positive and sometimes humorous side of the most ghastly scenerios, and by accompanying the edited found feature film footage with new sample collage pop songs, elevate you from the swamp.
More media from this project here.
transmediale 2013 is happy to announce a preview of the participant highlights of the one festival week long Pluto day:
Alejandro Jodorowsky, Elizabeth Price, Ian Hacking, Lorraine Daston, Michael Brown, Kenneth Goldsmith, Olga Goriunova, Geert Lovink, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Dennis Adams, John Smith, Sandy Stone, Diane Torr, People Like Us, Boris Hegenbart and Felix Kubin, Vanessa Ramos-Velasquez f/ A Guy Called Gerald, Carsten Nicolai, Demdike Stare and Gatekeeper, official transmediale Miscommunication Platform OCTO w Telekommunisten and raumlaborberlin, three exhibitions under The Miseducation of Anya Major feat. Sonia Sheridan, YoHa, Kim Asendorf, Cornelia Sollfrank.
As many of you know, we have been sharing our work for free online since 2000, and on UbuWeb since 2003. We’re really pleased to announce that we have been updating our collection with Ubu and have added 25 more film and sound works.
CUTTING ACROSS MEDIA by Kembrew McLeod & Rudolf Kuenzli
We highly recommend this book, which Vicki Bennett has written the back of book blurb for. More info about it here.
Download at UbuWeb http://www.ubu.com/sound/plu_collarge.html
Accompanying the book is a “mixtape” (in digital form!) of our favourite sample or sampled music. Take an epic six hour survey of audio collage with People Like Us’ Collarge, a mixtape commissioned for Kembrew McLeod’s co-edited Cutting Across Media: Appropriation Art, Interventionalist Collage, and Intellectual Property Law, which serves as a companion volume to Creative License. http://creativelicense.info/mixtape.php
Vicki Bennett has written the Collateral Damage page for the March edition of The Wire magazine.
It is also available to read in The Wire’s online archive:
Vicki will also speak at Off The Page in Whitstable on 25th February 2012 as part of a panel based around the same column.
In the early 2000s, increased bandwidth allowed recombinant artists to enter the gift economy. It’s a freedom we should defend at all costs, argues Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us
In 1999 I bought my first fast computer – and although it was dying to do speedy things, I was on dial-up, reduced to a crawl when it came to information retrieval. Logged into file sharing communities, I’d sit in the chat and watch people posting files that would take me a day to download, so I’d just read about them. Then I’d go to the WFMU website and try to stream the station and just get blurts and gaping silences. Then I’d visit archive.org and look at all the wonderful synopses for Rick Prelinger’s films, which were too large to access. It wasn’t long, however, before affordable broadband reached my area of London. Then everything changed. Forever.
The biggest improvement that broadband has brought me is access to previously inaccessible content, which I can then work with as raw material. In 2000, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle asked Prelinger to share his films online, for free. Although Prelinger was initially wary of this suggestion, he did so. By making these films available in good quality and continuing to sell the same footage in high quality, not only did he advertise his commercial archive, but also this generous act had a revolutionary effect on artists like myself who utilise already existing footage to make new works. Before this, I’d approached regional and national archives and either found a total lack of interest in collaboration, or a bigger interest but lack of manpower to liaise in realising the project. The advent of broadband made it possible to share on a massive scale. It changed my life.
With more people producing and distributing for themselves, the dynamic has changed and the focus shifted away from the middleman towards the producer. Since 2000, albums I’ve made with Ergo Phizmiz and Wobbly were created remotely, as a result of being in different parts of the world, through ftping multitracks. Many are surprised to hear that such methods could be successful, but working alone on site, and in collaboration online, can be a winning combination. Once completed, it can be shared online. If you work with the right people you’ll reach thousands of listeners. In turn, some of those listeners will be working in areas where they can offer concerts, commissions, or play you on their radio show. This is called the Gift Economy.
Audio content both for People Like Us and my radio show has mainly been sourced online. This heightened access increased my musical knowledge massively, feeding into my creative process, the palette increasing in size and colour. Access to and hosting by curated servers like UbuWeb has given a wider context to my work, where I’ve found aesthetic similarities to genres that in turn inform my practice. As well as curated music servers, there are now thousands of dedicated, knowledgeable music blogs. A web search for an obscure artist heard on the radio will take you to a blog telling you all about them, sharing out-of-print material, with tags linking to related areas. An adjacent column will have links to 25 other websites and radio stations with similar interests. There then follows a wonderful odyssey into hidden and often forgotten sonic worlds. This is very different from looking in an Oxfam record bin.
As well as being able to access specialist audio and moving images, broadband also made it possible to hear radio on a worldwide scale. Although analogue radio has long served the world over certain wavelengths for larger radio networks, it was an amazing experience to hear smaller radio stations like WFMU, where, as a result, I have been a DJ since 2003. WFMU archives its past shows forever, making them available for free listening. When Googling a little-known artist, the chances are the results will include a WFMU playlist. This helped make the local New Jersey radio station a global concern – and now, more people listen online than through radio receivers.
With this enhanced access in the past decade, one is far more likely to hear more less often than less more often. This shifts the way one listens, as the process becomes more like a ‘one-off’ experience of something that is ‘live’ or ‘unrepeatable’, almost like it was before the age of recording. Cassette sharing has been replaced with links and playlists. The physical experience of holding something as a treasured possession is lost, or it would be if you’d put your laptop or iPhone down. The loss of the artefact in favour of info.txt and jpegs is unfortunate; however, I recall many hours spent in record stores only looking at the covers.
In Klaus Maeck’s 1983 film Decoder, Genesis P-Orridge states, “Information is like a bank. Our job is to rob that bank.” These were prophetic words. Freedom of the internet is under threat – over access to and ownership of information. Although I don’t see sharing and creatively transforming information and content as plundering, I do believe the ‘banks’ have the potential to lock up a lot that should rightfully be ours. When Megaupload was recently shut down for facilitating copyright infringement and money laundering, approximately 150 million users instantly lost access to their files. Carpathia and Cogent, Megaupload’s hosting companies, have been told by the US authorities that they are free to delete the content, but unlike the US government’s approach of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, Carpathia has put together a website (megaretrieval.com) with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) so that affected users can assess the scope of the issue and try to retrieve their data. My focus here is not on the legal aspect of this case, but on how further damage occurs when a heavy-handed approach is taken in dealing with such a situation – millions of users were innocently implicated in this case and the collateral damage is immense.
We may be at the stage where many people don’t even wish to download, and are just happy to listen to Spotify or Last.fm, and much future content will only be on servers, with smaller domestic hard drives. While advocating the sharing ethic, I’m wary of ‘the cloud’ – servers looking after everything for you. Megaupload was a ‘cloud’ – it remains to be seen what happens to users and their data when things go wrong. Intellectual property is a complicated issue with many grey areas, which need to be assessed on an individual basis. If there is the opportunity to throw out the grey with the black, this is often done. My main concern over the cloud is that this ‘automatic and effortless’ experience of access may be improved upon by eventually narrowing down results to only mainstream or sponsored content; in the worst cases, people may find themselves simply shut out.
I can’t over-emphasise how much broadband has improved my life, and although I worry about the control of this ‘free’ space, I remain optimistic of seeing blue sky between the clouds. At present, I am curating and programming Radio Boredcast, a month long online radio station for the AV Festival. All content and submissions reached me by way of that modem sitting next to the telephone socket, which then flew across the living room into my computer. I don’t know how that happens, but I’m glad it does.