“In a democratic society, a person’s job is a basic tool for civil and economic progress,” says Italian street artist Biancoshock. “What progress can there be if the world’s jobs do not produce emancipation, growth, and gratification?”
His repurposing of heavy blocks of concrete as delivery boxes here is called “Heavy Meal.” He says his point is to highlight the unrecognized burdens that delivery people of today are carrying thanks to sophisticated software. He describes situations of ever-higher pressure, lower wages, and an overall feeling of precariousness.
Increasingly across Europe and the developed world, he says, “food-delivery riders are dictated to by algorithms that extend the control and distribution functions – to become inaccessible, authoritarian and categorical.”
“The algorithm imposes a path, rhythms, distances to be bridged (those between the rider and the consumer) and other unbridgeable ones (those between the rider and the management of the company that produces the algorithm and the goods to be delivered).”
These huge traffic blockers make idea canvasses for the installation artist, who adopts the logos of well-known European food-delivery brands and slightly alters them for artistic effect. To see the growing number of protests against these companies by employees, you see that more sophisticated technology is lowering the standard of living for many of us.
“The need to survive in this system transforms young people, students, and the unemployed into ‘new generation slaves,’” says the artist.
Old stone, new slavery.
Some delivery brands in the news:
Glovo riders go on strike as European gig workers rise up
Just Eat, Deliveroo and UberEats delivery drivers to walk out in Belfast
Deliveroo unveils plans to pull out of Spain in wake of ‘rider law’
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