Autohoodening: The Rise of Captain Swing

Demitrios Kargotis, Dash Macdonald, Nicholas Mortimer, Roxanne Korda (Collaborator), Daniel Albert Blanco (Collaborator) , James Frost (Collaborator), Lottie Wood (Collaborator)

    Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


    As part of the wider Autohoodening Symposium and workshops begun in 2019, this is a collaborative response to a midwinter custom dating back over 200 years. Further research in the working conditions of Amazon Workers in the UK to create a feature length tragic comic opera farce, further reimaging the Kentish calendar Custom of Hoodening.

    Hoodening was originally performed by farm labourers in East Kent who paraded with a horse effigy in a carnivalesque satire of their working reality during the fallow season of winter. The Opera was written in collaboration with Infinite Opera, with additional material gathered through interviews with GMB Union Managers and Amazon worker message boards.

    Autohoodening reimagines this custom for the age of automation, updating its design, delivery and social commentary and asks how might the singing, dancing and physical humour parody and draw attention to the horrifying working conditions hidden behind consumer-facing infrastructure and the ease of ‘one-click’ delivery?

    The work was premiered at Vivid Studios Birmingham at Christmas in 2021, following Amazon Prime Day and during a spate of worldwide protests against the treatment of Amazon workers, and shown again at the 2022 Lulea Bienalle in Sweden with an immersive exhibition installation.

    The film focuses on Captain Swing, the fictional face of worker dissent in the great English agricultural uprising of 1830, is resurrected to confront the horrors of working as a seasonal associate in an Amazon fulfilment centre. Will Swing help the workers to overcome Alexis the evil scanner, a symbol of Amazon’s regime of technological discipline?
    Original languageEnglish
    Media of outputOnline
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - Oct 2022
    EventLulea Arts and Crafts International Biennial - Norrbotten County, Luleå, Sweden
    Duration: 15 Oct 202215 Jan 2023


    • Film
    • Opera
    • Activism
    • Costume
    • Folk History
    • Reimagining
    • Singing
    • Captain Swing
    • Post Workers Theatre
    • Political Theatre
    • Collaboration
    • Amazon


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