GENERATORprojects in Dundee is a rarity within the culture of artist-led activity around the country due to its extensive legacy. Founded in 1996, the organisation has established itself more like an institution, making clear their role within the public realm of Dundee and aims of support to those wishing to engage and exhibit work within the project space. Does maintaining a project space, through the bi-annual-ish rolling committee, for such an extent of time necessitate that an initial grass-roots approach must evolve and formalise eventually? Perhaps this is the result of an increasing level of investment from those who have previously been on the committee.
Aside from the current 5 coordinators of GENERATOR, listed are another 66 previous committee members. It is quite astonishing. Speaking with Holly Keasey, Tara Chaloner and Ruth Aitken on our visit to GENERATOR, it was clear this dense history of participation and activity impacts upon many forthcoming responsibilities. It can be an incredibly resourceful and insightful network to work within, as some previous members continue to make art and eventually come full-circle exhibiting back at GENERATOR down the line. “Lauren Gault had a show recently [at GENERATOR] who was a previous committee member, and many generations of previous committee members showed up for the private view, which was a bit bizarre”
There are though obvious repercussions to working within an organisation that has established a long line of invested interest from previous members. With logistical matters regarding the building and responsibility of maintenance, it can become a navigational nightmare trawling through previous AGM meetings from several year’s previous, just to find one brief acknowledgement of the information sought after. Contact with previous members was likened to the “…Chinese Whispers phenomenon. Once we were told not to move the tables in the attic, as the roof would fall down….we did eventually, and of course the roof didn’t fall down. But because of the rolling structure and the relative shortness of the two year time on the committee, things can just get lost in translation. Unless you are determined to track through the archive or emails, then it is quite difficult to track down what you are looking for.”