Riders not Heroes



01.05 6:00 pm

online event

Participating artists: 2050+ and -orama

Supported by Istituto Italiano di Cultura Budapest

The short film Riders Not Heroes investigates the precarious conditions of food delivery riders in Milan. It makes the case for riders as essential workers, lying at the intersection of platform capitalism, gig labor, refugee crises, and COVID-19. Inspired by the plight of our new essential workers, creative agencies 2050+ and -orama worked on this short film with rider and artist Lupo Borgonovo. Armed with a GoPro, Borgonovo quite literally became a moving camera, and in doing so, gives us all a much-needed firsthand account of what millions of workers are putting themselves through each day. The film examines the phenomenon of the gig economy in a broader context and predicts an even more uncertain future, where the role of couriers will be taken over by drones, flying pizzas and other packages, turning the air into a technological highway.

The system of the gig economy is mostly made up of freelancers and services based on sharing economy. The main feature of these is that the business activity happens in the digital marketplace, where processes of ordering, sales, payment and service evaluation (and the employment itself) are carried out through applications. A peculiarity of this business model is that online platforms usually look for and employ people with completely different backgrounds, qualifications and experience for short-term, casual jobs. The quick spread of gig economy has also reshaped the labor market, as for many, working quasi-indefinite, full-time or part-time in the platform economy has become their main source of income. 

Thus, in recent years, and especially during the pandemic, the problems relating to personnel, the deficiencies and inequalities of this type of employment have come to the fore. The most prominent question is whether the employees of a given gig economy company should count as actual employees of the company and thus be entitled to, for example, minimum wage, paid leave and social security. The growing number of protests and demonstrations demanding more predictable working conditions and courier unions show that change has become urgent, but it remains undecided whether the specificities of platform capitalism pose a barrier to workers’ self-organization or on the contrary, provides a better platform and opportunity for collaboration.

The screening of the short film will be followed by an English-language conversation with the film's directors and the protagonist, Lupo Borgonovo, as well as Callum Cant, the writer of the book ‘Riding for Deliveroo’.

The event will take place on Zoom. Registration: