Changing Your Mind is a new 50-minute crowd-sourced radio collage work by Vicki Bennett. It will be broadcast on Deutschlandfunk on 14 April 2023 at 0:05 (German time).
Meditation is a means of transforming the mind and has been practised for thousands of years. It encourages concentration, and clarity, and can have a transformative effect that can lead to a new understanding of life, and be used as a creative tool.This is a crowd-sourced audio collage by Vicki Bennett, where 48 participants respond to questions about the subject of meditation and consciousness and their experiences and relationship to this.
List of participants: Abhayadevi, Akashamitra, Rahne Alexander, Tim Atkins, Vicki Bennett, Marcus Boon, William Boon, Liz Bot, Leanne Bryan, Falco Carey, Jeff Carey, Leon Clowes, Stephen Coates, Will Edmondes, Diane Farris, Jem Finer, Louise Gray, Maya Gürbüz, Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee, Phil Hallett, Kevin Hamilton, Dan Hayhurst, Mark Heath, Pea Hicks, Seth Horvitz, Peter Jaeger, Felix Kubin, Henry Lowengard, Tim Maloney, Lasse Marhaug, David McConville, Alex McKechnie, Irene Moon, Karen Oates, Kira O’Reilly, Ratnadeva, Sanghasiha, Saraka, Vic Scarborough, Nikolas Schreck, Adrian Shephard, Vanessa Sinclair, Sue Slagle, Suddhaka, David Toop, Vidyadasi, Pete Wallace, Richard Whitelaw
We are very pleased to announce that Gone, Gone Beyond will be screening in it’s home town San Francisco in May 2022 at Gray Area. We say it’s the “home town” because although we live in London, the piece was originally commissioned by Recombinant Media Labs for CineChamber, the structure which we then built a replica of in 2021 and have existing in the UK.
All press inquiries should go to Gray Area, and if you have questions for People Like Us or Gone, Gone Beyond you can directly ask us.
Gone, Gone Beyond will screen at 6.30pm and 8.30pm each night. On the 25th there will be an artist talk followed by one screening – tickets can be bought combined or separately: https://grayarea.org/event/vicki-bennett/
12, 13, 14, 19, 20 & 21 May 2022 (two screenings per night) —- these screenings will be introduced by Naut Humon, original commissioner of Gone, Gone Beyond and creator of the CineChamber that houses our work. 25,26 & 27 May 2022 (two screenings per night) —- we will be present for these screenings and therefore will introduce the the 26th/27th, and it will be an artist presentation on the 25th.
All screenings are at Gray Area, Grand Theater, 2665 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 415.843.1423
Covid policy: Full vaccination (no booster) | Masks strongly encouraged but not required
We have a full page review of Gone, Gone Beyond in the January 2022 edition of The Wire Magazine, a very nice write up by Louise Gray. We also had at three mentions from Wire writers in their “best of” summaries of 2021.
“Hey, hey, have you ever tried… reaching out to the other side?”
Gone, Gone Beyond is an immersive a/v spatial cinema work by People Like Us (Vicki Bennett), which breaks the rectangle, smashing the thin screen into tiny fragments, looking beyond the frame, climbing through to see what’s behind.
The initial work was commissioned by Naut Humon, the founder of immersive theatre project RML CineChamber, Gone, Gone Beyond is a 10 screen / 6 or 8 speaker piece, with seamless wrap around projection and surround sound where the audience sit inside. It comprises of movie and musical compositions, animated and sample-based/musique concrète collage juxtaposed with content filmed/recorded by the artist, all sewn together in a giant patchwork. Pull on a thread and watch whole new narratives expand and unravel all at once on a 360º palette. The project has been a work in progress since 2017, and showed for the first time in Autumn 2021 in feature length format.
The work’s title and underlying concepts come from the Heart Sutra, a key Buddhist text, describing how all phenomena are empty in form yet ultimately interconnected. The last lines of the Heart Sutra say ‘gate gate pāragate pārasamgate bodhi svāhā’, which means “gone, gone beyond, gone beyond that a bit more, and then beyond that a bit further”. This reflects perfectly the action of going beyond the frame to where there are no edges to the narrative – just emptiness.
In this 360º format, time and space becomes elasticated, with the use of collaged video furthering the reflection on how information comes to us as fragments and that nothing is fixed. A new narrative-thread is woven in the mind of each viewer every time the work is seen, limited only to that exact time and space – just as the Heart Sutra reminds us that the only constant is change, and everything is related with no fixed source.
The initial in-process tester movie screened in San Francisco in October 2017 at RML’s own Recombinant Festival at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. Since then the work has been in development, with a private screening event in April 2019 Goldsmiths SIML for potential partners. The work will screen at nyMusikk, Oslo; SPILL Festival, Ipswich; Attenborough Centre (ACCA), Brighton; and London Barbican, in Autumn 2021. Version 2 of GGB screened in San Francisco’s Gray Area in May 2022 to great critical acclaim.
The art event Kinokammer consists of two works made by noise artist Lasse Marhaug and the British video artist Vicki Bennett, better known under the artist name ‘People Like Us’. Both works are world premieres and are shown as a collaboration between Black Box theater and nyMusikk. CineChamber is a cross-genre format based on a concept developed by San Francisco-based Recombinant Media Labs, called CineChamber . The format frames the audience in a 360-degree moving audio and video landscape.
At the Black Box theater, Kinokammer is a so-called double ticket . First Marhaug’s work For My Abandoned Left Eye (2021) and then Bennett’s Gone, Gone Beyond (2021). The public can bring the wine glasses from the foyer into the exhibition hall. Rows of chairs are set up along three of the room’s four walls, while scattered seat cushions are placed on the floor. Thus, the audience will consider other spectators’ eyes and reactions as part of the art experience. Before the screening of Marhaug’s work really begins, an atmosphere is established where small talk and wine drinking are buzzed in the room for several minutes. Whether this is intentional or not, it creates a kind of ‘we’ in the room, an experience of sharing something. This sets a precedent that adds an extra dimension to the art event that will grow and develop throughout the screenings.
Marhaug describes his work as a ‘post-capitalist-science-fiction-noise film’. It is so far a decent genre description, but I experience in a way the work as more ordinary than that, at least visually. We are in a world that is preferably in black and white. We see images and fragments of forest and nature against hard building structures and remains and traces of man-made objects. Garbage, a sneaker, a sofa, an animal foot. The totality appears raw, wet, cool and hard, not only visually, but also acoustically. Occasionally, the film material is contrasted by abstract images, such as massively pulsating black spots, close together against a white background.
A mass bombardment that challenges the senses Each projected movie sequence apparently has its own and ever-changing soundtrack. This constantly creates new and different layer-on-layer effects. The soundscape gives, among other things, associations to machine repetitions and massive metal grinders against crackling and crackling in various qualities, auditory textures that for a few moments remind me of the feeling of stinging icy rain or penetrating intense wheezing in the ears. Suddenly, small interruptions occur with the absence of noise before new images and sounds are fired at us like projectiles. It is a mass bombardment that challenges the senses and the distinction between impression and disturbance. Finally, I’m not sure if I actually hear sampled cries, the noise of a full room of screaming people, or if it’s just my brain that tricks me into thinking I sense these cries through the noise. I go out filled with a kind of unpleasant dizziness and with aching retinas. The work leaves an eco-deterministic turmoil in me that I need far more than thirty minutes to digest and reset myself from, and this also constitutes my objection to two such different works being put together.
After the break, we are thrown out on a completely different journey. This time, some have lain down on their backs, some close their eyes, some just sit relaxed and sip on the evening’s second or third glass of wine. All four walls are projected close together with flaming candles. The picture is obviously strikingly kitsch, almost ironic. Gradually we can hear sounds reminiscent of a crowd of stomping boot steps mixed with an indefinable hiss from insects and crickets, and a diffuse hum from distant, manipulated choruses. It is difficult to interpret and place the soundscape, and I also do not have time to get very far before the whole room is almost sucked through a kind of visual tunnel. The bass makes the floor below us vibrate, and we are pulled at breakneck speed through countless projected doors. This estimate reinforces the illusion of being in a simulator. It is as if a virtual wind has suddenly blown us away and we are suddenly sitting on a flying carpet, traveling through the artist’s subconscious, where playful pop cultural references are replaced by nightmarish and disturbing images. The audience looks in all possible directions as if to orientate themselves in constantly new places.
As if David Lynch were to take ayahuasca in the desert The editing technique is extremely good, and the dramaturgy has a kind of kaleidoscopic associative form at the same time as each picture is just so easy to interpret that you can get caught in a new hook that throws you in the head. new associations before being torn loose and thrown into the next. This is as if David Lynch had taken ayahuasca in the desert and made a film of what he hallucinated afterwards. We are constantly somewhere between dream and nightmare, for example when we see Julie Andrews dancing carefree between tree trunks while war helicopters thunder across the sky while the world goes up in flames and explodes around her. We see prairie pictures with saguaro cacti and hear the sound of unpleasant radio signals. The chimney sweep from Singing in the Rain disappears into animated pipes, we see oil barrels burning and growing nebulae, barely hearing the sound of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both sides now’, glimpsing the globe from space (or is it a disco ball?), being drawn to the sound of lyre boxes and suddenly surrounded by giant funfair horses.
In the popular cultural references, a darker contemporary commentary is hidden. Most of the references are from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and in contrast to beautiful images of the universe’s darkness, celestial bodies and galaxy fog, an experience is created that time flows through space and pulls us through the cosmos at relentless speed. The work opens the gaze to the paradoxical and random of our popular cultural history, the powerless and merciless in that we have created what we have created, and nothing else.
The work also makes me philosophize about what can be called a performance. There are no actors or actors here, but I experience in return that we audiences become part of it. At one point a man rushes out of the room, a woman overturns a bottle, some get up from their chairs and walk around smiling or looking. None of this bothers me as it would in many other contexts. At one point there is one who laughs, and after this it is as if something in the room dissolves, the reactions become freer and more expressive. People respond and come up with small exclamations. The work would therefore not have been the same if I experienced it alone, and then maybe it’s a performance anyway?
In sum, I still think the two parts of tonight’s double ticket should have been shown separately. They are both so strong and intense works that they leave different resonances and reflections it would have been nice to have time to dwell on separately.
In recent years, the internet and a raft of new technologies have transformed the ways in which we produce, perceive and consume music. And as the reality of music’s new digital economy starts to bite, musicians and labels are having to rethink both philosophy and practice, addressing the issue of how they create and disseminate work – while some decry the free movement of music across file sharing networks and the collapse of traditional record industry models, others look to exploit the new possibilities offered by crowd sourcing and social networking.For this panel discussion chaired by The Wire‘s Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Tony Herrington, Vicki Bennett (People Like Us), Chris Cutler (ReR Records), Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) and Kiran Sande (FACT, Blackest Ever Black) discussed possible responses to the challenges posed by music’s changing eco-system.
The Wire and Sound And Music‘s Off The Page festival took place 24–26 February at The Playhouse Theatre in Whitstable.
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.”
This is the full-length performance of the Cafe Oto leg of last year’s NOTATIONS tour, with Jaap Blonk and Philip Jeck as guest performers.
Vicki Bennett’s film-collage-as-visual-score Notations is created from hundreds of different film clips, where the content conceptually or literally portrays different kinds of instructions to be read by the improvising artists on stage as a visual score. The film/performance toured the UK in November 2013 after premiering at Ilan Volkov’s TECTONICS Festival in Reykjavik earlier in the year. This marks a return to working with improvised audio and video, both on radio and in front of an audience. Between 1996-2003, Vicki performed both solo and with Jon Leidecker (Wobbly), Matt Wand (Stock, Hausen and Walkman), Matmos, members of Negativland and Kenneth Goldsmith.
To soundtrack Notations, each show featured a different combination of artists: Bill Orcutt, Rhodri Davies, M.C. Schmidt (Matmos), Philip Jeck, Jaap Blonk, Steve Noble, Wobbly, Mark Sanders, Tomomi Adachi and Jennifer Walshe.
Vicki Bennett is an influential figure in the field of audio visual collage, through her innovative sampling, appropriating and cutting up of found footage and archives, publishing material since 1992.
Notations UK Tour was produced by Tusk and commissioned by Sound and Music as part of their Touring Programme for 2013.