Project Resist was a collaboration with Sharon Stammers and Martin Lupton, our friends from the Light Collective and Social Light Movement (SLM). We got funding from the LSE Sociology Resist Festival to mount a public lighting event for the final night of a festival that aimed to promote engaged connections between academia and activists.

The original idea was a guerilla lighting event, as pioneered by SLM: carefully designed lighting transformations of public spaces, using large numbers of participants armed with torches and gels. A spectacular experience of reconfiguring space with light but it didn’t feel quite right for this festival. The lighting event needed to be more tightly integrated into the rest of the programme and its overall theme.

The final concept was to ask all event participants to answer a simple question throughout the festival: ‘What do you resist?’

Sharon and Martin integrated the responses into a loop of vivid graphics that mobilized visual devices from the history of agitprop and political culture, from punk through 1930s Soviet graphics. The result was projected onto LSE’s New Academic Building, for much of the time over the heads of another event celebrating urban migration with music and dance (with thanks to Suzi Hall!).

There was the fun of transforming an LSE building with political expressions, of doing a Banksy on your own insititution. There was the pleasure of seeing one’s words projected over three stories and made into a shared public event. There was the simple thrill of seeing light transform public space.

Would love to do it again….

Many thanks to Sharon and Martin; to Lucy Wood (who held it all together); to Lisa McKenzie and the Resist crew; and to LSE and Tina Basi for the opportunity to do this event.