Light operators and green activists in Cop26 summit building projection face-off

·3-min read
The ‘go away’ projections on the Cop26 conference centre (Graeme Eddolls/PA)
The ‘go away’ projections on the Cop26 conference centre (Graeme Eddolls/PA)

Light operators projected “go away, go away, go away” on to the building hosting the Cop26 climate summit in a bid to disrupt a stunt by green activists.

Demonstrators from the anti-gas campaign Gastavists became locked in a battle with the operators when they tried to project their messages on to the side of Glasgow’s famous Armadillo building.

They had assembled on the opposite bank of the River Clyde to beam messages including “ban fracking now” and “cut methane now” on to the structure’s silver segments.

The projector operators tried to obscure Gastivists message with a colourful background (Graeme Eddolls/PA)
The projector operators tried to obscure Gastivists message with a colourful background (Graeme Eddolls/PA)

The building has previously been lit up by conference branding, and the two projectionists tried to blot out the activists’ messages using different coloured backgrounds.

When this failed, the operators simply projected “go away, go away, go away” over the Armadillo instead.

Gastivist campaigner Tommy Vickerstaff said: “Last night I went down to support @gastivists with a projection on #COP26 venue, calling out greenwashing and demanding that fossil fuels are left in the ground.

“So obviously #COP26 weren’t thrilled about this, and responded by trying to project different patterns etc over the projections to try and disrupt them.

“In reality they just made them look more exciting?”

In a series of tweets, he continued: “Realising that wasn’t deterring us, they animated the background and that didn’t work either …

“Which led to the moment that #Cop26 decided to write the words ‘GO AWAY’ over our projections, and more specifically, over their own venue!”

Describing it as “very weird decision-making” on the part of Cop26, they added: “I haven’t stopped laughing since.”

Fellow activist Graeme Eddolls said that realising they were fighting a losing battle, the projectionists “came out and congratulated us”.

Neal Huddon-Cossar, a spokesman for Gastivists, said that the official projections on the side of the Armadillo had ended when they started their action, but that the operators had still been present.

After the struggle over projections, he said the two operators had come out and joked with activists: “They were actually quite friendly and they were in good spirits and they congratulated us.

“It was quite confusing because it contrasted with their attempts to shut down our (demonstration).”

The projector operators tried to obscure the activists ‘put the rainbow back’ message (Graeme Eddolls/PA)
The projector operators tried to obscure the activists ‘put the rainbow back’ message (Graeme Eddolls/PA)

Mr Huddson-Cossar described the projector face-off as “quite surreal” but added that it was one of a number of cases where activists had been silenced over the course of Cop26.

A spokesman for Cop26 said: “A third-party supplier is responsible for delivering projections at the Cop26 site and we are speaking to them about this.

“This response was not authorised by Cop26.”

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