There’s a new airline for art enthusiasts fortunate enough to jet-set but not financially equipped to fly private. Angelhaha Airline, the “first-ever artist airline,” is a performance project/business venture by Chinese artist Qinmin Liu, who wants to manicure the entire in-flight experience, from the safety demonstration down to the smell of its recycled air.
“A lot of my performance work is about how to insert myself into something not related to art,” Liu says. "I believe everything is being choreographed. I see myself and the social structure as a sort of choreography and try to insert myself inside my society.”
At the core, Liu wants to spread laughter by infiltrating the system. This project began as a Chris Burden-esque commercial including nothing more than Liu smiling sillily, audio of her chuckling, and the hashtag #Angelhaha for a chance at viral fame. Liu used the 15-second ad as a sort of guerrilla marketing campaign, with no clear rhyme or reason but to boost her brand. After getting rejected more than 20 times, the commercial finally aired on a state-run TV channel in Jiangxi, China.
"I’ve always dreamed big,” Liu says. "I’ve wanted to find out how to mess around, mess things up, and break through institutions. My idea was to explore a different space to do the performance. Since Angelhaha was a commercial, at the time I served the mass media and I served a lot of people. At this time I want to serve people in the air, fly with the people.”
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Despite its name, Angelhaha Airline isn’t exactly an airline — at least not in the conventional sense. It’s more of an experience than a service. Liu says she's using a contractor to deal with the logistics while she concentrates on designing and choreographing an in-flight atmosphere, in which Liu will play the role of attendant.
"The flyers are my audience,” she says. "I’ll put my entire stage and my performance into the aircraft. I’ve designed the entire environment, even the smell.”
The airline's maiden voyage is scheduled for December 6 from New York to Miami for Art Basel. Liu plans to fly customers to art festivals around the world.
Customers are invited to sign up for a spot on Angelhaha Airline’s first flight on the company's website. A total of nine seats are available. Liu doesn't specify an exact ticket price, instead giving the wide range of $300 to $3,000, and hopes these initial fees will make the service more affordable in the future.