“It is influenced by the idea of combining ‘flying with happiness’ with perfect and unpredicted services on an airplane.” Liu says
I have a special place in my heart for uncanny adaptations of mainstream cultural things, which is why artist Qinmin Liu’s airline, named Angelhaha, appeals deeply to my sensibilities. For members of the art world — or as Liu describes, “anyone who wants to fly to art” — looking for something different than commercial air travel, Angelhaha is here for you.
If there’s any selling point for Liu’s airline, it’s her radically honest marketing: “We cherish every moment of “haha”, because we understand we are living in an unstable, boring, full of lies world,” says the site’s about page. (Side note: “unstable, boring, full of lies” is my new favorite descriptor of anything remotely negative.) Angelhaha’s soft-pink-and-sky-blue messaging feels like equal parts airline and futuristic self-help guru. “Angelhaha pursues a positive spirit: Happiness is ahead of you.” the site espouses.
Liu, a graduate of the School of Visual Arts MFA program, partnered with Meisihang Private Aviation to offer one-way tickets only to art events all over the world. The maiden voyage will be on December 6 to Miami for Art Basel. Currently, no prices are available for flights, but Liu told Artnet that future flights will range from $300 to $3,000 depending on scheduling and carrier.
“I created Angelhaha based on ideas and challenges,” Liu told Cools via email. “It is influenced by the idea of combining ‘flying with happiness’ with perfect and unpredicted services on an airplane. I am an artist with happy and positive energy. If I have this kind of positive power, why not let more people see it and experience it. Service is performance. Environment is choreographed. I am going to use airplane, time, and this contained space to offer all my passengers a special and choreographed experience.”
Magically, Liu was able to score a commercial on Chinese state television. It’s a 15-second spot starring Liu, wearing a white turtleneck against a white backdrop, laughing and smiling until “#ANGELHAHA” fades onto the screen. It’s the sort of superbly bizarre commercial you hope you stumble upon late at night. I also love the visual of this commercial flickering in darkened homes around the country. In a letter on her site, Liu writes that her mission to get the commercial on television was in part inspired by artist Chris Burden’s ‘70s commercials, late-night commercials that were deeply surreal.
When asked how the idea came about, Liu answers this question with more questions. “Angelhaha is a dream leading art project,” she says. “I am always interested in making unachievable dreams come true. Make it visible! Also, I question what else I can challenge my art practice, my artist identity and art world. What’s the function of artist? What else we can do? Can we push a little bit harder? I want to push the limit. So why not start something that can redefine the function of art?”
Liu is vague about future plans for the airline, but says “lots of surprising plans” are in store and that her goal is to have “affordable flight tickets for more people.” If you’re interested in traveling with Angelhaha, you can learn more here, and remember, “fly with Angelhaha, fly with happiness.”