COPitilism – Life Cycle of Waste

2021 saw the 26th instalment of the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference, COP (Conference of the Parties). 

It is an annual get together in which world leaders, celebrities and activists alike all come together over a week to discuss – in person, the dynamic situation of the climate crisis. 118 private jets were used by the more influential of these attendees to reach the summit – that equates to over 1000 tonnes of Co2 being burnt and released into the atmosphere, in order for (among other things) the issue of overuse of resources by the few, which impacts the many; to be discussed. 

I decided one cold November evening to get an overnight bus from Victoria Coach Station to Glasgow (COP’s 26th host city). Not really sure of what to expect upon arrival I tried to sleep through the sounds of the coach, made substantially more difficult by the two men behind me devouring a bag of monkey nuts each, whom incidentally seemed also to be experts in the art of snoring whilst awake. After a while the sounds of mastication and whistling of breath through open mouths became almost comforting, regular as the breaking sea – I found a couple of hours of fettered slumber before being jolted awake by the coaches arrival to Glasgow in the early hours of the morning. 

Immediately I was met with the performative spectacle of the event. Seeing some news reporters running about with big broadcast cameras on their shoulders I decided to follow them and see what was waiting for them at the other end. Oxfam were doing a publicity stunts where they dressed a load of volunteers up with massive papier macher heads of world leaders. At first I was really excited to have stumbled across something seemingly so important making such a statement, so I got super close to the heads with my 21mm lens, flashing them up close – it was not long before “oi mate move out the way” was shouted at me. I turned around and where there had been the two or three reporters I followed over to the performance I was now being faced off by 20+ glinting, and slightly annoyed lenses.

My bubble burst to the importance of the discovery of the politicians heads, as soon as the cameras were gone they took them off an went back about their daily business – a truelly performative event.

On to the Science Centre itself – what could be seen of the event for the general layman?

Picket lines of protesters lined the roads and bridges surrounding the centre, some climate invested activists, as well as alot of other movements piggy backing on the possible publicity that COP had brought to Glasgow, nothing expecially of aesthetic inspiration – however I had noticed how the streets surrounding the area changed from Glasgows general mess and squalor in the street corners to a much cleaner pristine representation – all for the cameras perhaps?

Progressively getting more and more bored of looking at things at a distance through a fence I decided to leave the area and explore more of Glasgow as it is- and was. Before COP came to town.

The images shared here seek to represent and highlight an endemic of our modern society, our dependence on branded packaging as a vessel for the distribution of commercial goods. – an ecosystem of waste and purposelessness.