Resonate Generate - The initial idea

Resonate/Generate – Return of the 70s

Resonate/Generate began in the spring of 2013, when I proposed an art residency at the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames’s Recycling and Re-Use Centre. Despite not having engaged an artist on this site before, the Council agreed to a two-month residency and allowed me to work on-site, with access to any items and materials headed for landfill. The resulting project, Refuse to Re-Use, was a fascinating insight into society’s attitude to waste and presented me with an endless source of stories about discarded objects and their relationship to past lives. Some of the objects brought to the Centre, such as an old speedboat on a trailer, a working piano, an accordion and boxes of documentary evidence of past lives, demanded to be memorialized and reconfigured so as not to lose them forever.   Within my practice, I transformed these found objects into sculpture, installations, cyanotype prints and film. 

On completion of the residency, I started to imagine what object or objects would best reflect my life and which would both resonate with my memories and generate new work. During the residency, I was drawn to a lot of old 70s vinyl records, as well as the era’s hi-tech devices, such as reel-to-reel tape recorders, radios and typewriters. I have returned to some of my own 70s memories for this new work:

Resonate/Generate - Resonant circuits exhibit ringing and can generate higher voltages and currents than are fed into them.

Resonate/Generate is my imagining of the arrival, at the recycling and re-use site, of a discarded mobile library/record store, with contents from the 70s. I chose this decade, as it is probably the most important period of my own development. Decisions taken then, have led me in a certain direction. I was 13 years old at the start of this formative decade and, by the end, I had completed my first degree and started work as a trainee chartered accountant. The installation is a memorial to my experience and the poignant effect of this time.
 The 70s were an extraordinary time in terms of political change, as well as rock music innovation, especially progressive and punk rock. Despite this, the country itself was in trouble: as the country teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, people were struggling with a failing education system and soaring energy bills, and a fractured society was facing up to the big issues such as immigration, devolution and the fallout from the striking unions fighting for fair pay. On a brighter note, the 70s saw the first steps being taken on the long road to racial, gender and sexual equality.

Resonate/Generate looks at how similar these 70s issues are to the issues facing the UK today, highlighting in some cases how little progress we have made and asks what future political, economic and cultural responses might be. It also reflects on the current trend in music, art and design in taking inspiration from analogue rather than digital and from artifacts rather than mass-produced objects.
The Resonate/Generate installation will allow viewers the opportunity to revisit this period through music, art and objects within an immersive installation, which articulates the very essence of this era and open up a discursive and reflective space for the viewer to contemplate society then and today and ultimately to share and record these reconfigured memories and impressions with the artist.
Roger Miles – June 2014