Let’s throw collage artist Vicki Bennett, philanthropist billionaire George Soros and a Sheffield UK new_media festival together in a hot-tub. Aside from the suds, what do they have in common? They believes, I believe, in the phrase ‘To give is to receive’.
George Vs George
74-year-old George Soros has an estimated $7 billion up his sleeve, accumulated through a controversial career of International investments, and has authored eight books dealing with democracy, globalisation and contemporary society. He also likes to give away lots of his money to various causes. His latest cause? Dethroning the current US President in next year’s elections. So far he’s given $5 million to MoveOn.org, a left-wing group dedicated to combating the US President’s policies, and $US10 million to America Coming Together, a new group aiming to “defeat George W. Bush and elect progressive candidates all across America”. Believing that Bush was “leading the US and the world toward a vicious circle of escalating violence”, he declares the 2004 presidential vote is “a matter of life and death.” (www.soros.org ) On a similar tip, a couple of Swedish activists have launched Democracy Aid 2004 – noting that ‘not only US citizens should have a say in the election of the ruler of the entire globe’ ( http://hem.passagen.se/democracyaid ).
People Like Us
Vicki Bennett aka PLU, has just offered her entire back catalogue for free download. This includes a gorgeous live album with matmos & wobbly, and several short films ( also available through the fantastic free movie archives at www.moviearchive.org ). All of her content is governed by a Creative Commons licence which means it’s also open to re-use and sampling.
Files here: http://www.peoplelikeus.org/
Reasons for giving here:
“We strongly believe in the power of profit through free distribution, and the publicity that comes along with that – so we are putting our money where our mouse is. Often people have never heard of an artist because they aren’t being distributed through as many channels as they should be, due to the very poor state of music/media distribution for non-major label music coupled with ignorance of the way that avant garde art forms infiltrate mainstream culture. Also many prints of a work are allowed to go out of circulation or are deleted for no reason other than cost effectiveness by a label/publisher. This makes perfect sense financially, but no sense whatsoever that a year’s work by an artist should also disappear for such reasons. So get all of this while you can, and we completely endorse getting one’s work out there, no matter what. If you don’t share, your profit is limited.”
Giving it up for Sheffield, the Lovebytes crew have been organising annual new media festivals since 1994. Most recently they’ve started releasing companion DVD’s to go with the festival, and if you find yourself with the 2002 edition, ‘Volatile Media’, you might come across the following enticers:
‘We Edit Life’ – a funny and charming 10 minute digital video collage by People Like Us – the DVD’s highlight, ‘Freefactory’ – an audiovisual improvisational tool that combines the talents of Freeform ( Simon Pyke ) & The Designer’s Republic, ‘There was a girl / There was a boy’ – gender put under the microscope of Terre Thaemlitz, and an interesting video music composition by Alex Peverett – ‘Soft Ocean Hotel’. There’s also a selection of videos showcasing / documenting the festival itself, some DVD Rom animated action, and a few other video works. It’s an intriguing collection, if maybe a bit disappointing given the calibre of artists commissioned to produce work for it. Or perhaps the works just don’t hang together that well. Still, an enjoyable release and hopefully repeated next year. Copies and more info available ear: www.lovebytes.org.uk.
Give it up~!