People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz – The Keystone Cut Ups

People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz

DVD – Illegal Art
Vicky Bennett (People Like Us) has become well known for her audio/visual collages that draw from old movie archives. The Keystone Cut Ups is the brilliant outcome of a collaboration with Ergo Phizmiz, a “collagist” whose style matches Bennett’s perfectly. The two have already composed two albums in 2007-8. This work (which Bennett explains “is a pun on The Keystone Cops, plus Keystone is an editing term, as is cut ups”) has been commissioned by the Berwick Film And Art Festival in 2010 and was performed there for the first time. For most of the time the screen is split and there’s a systematic stereographic dialogue between the two parts, mixing clips from Vaudeville movies, and early avant-garde cinema (especially from Surrealist productions), bridging old pop with art forms. The dvd back cover fuses those two fields impressively, with a picture of Salvador Dali closely observing and sketching Harpo Marx trying to play an harp with barbed wire strings. Bennett points out that “use of collage and montage was also first seen in this era” but this is just one of the many references that the duo play with in their work – beyond the cinematic qualities it is possible to find many associations, relationships and meanings stratified as layers in the twin video sequence. In fact, in People Like Us tradition, the video is “played” together with the music, unfolding in perfect sync and with a fantastic dynamic quality to the shots that is perceived as a constant visual rhythm.