A diagram of the buried plane (via Curbed LA)

LOS ANGELES — I’ve always been fascinated by Walter de Maria’s The Vertical Earth Kilometer. Over in the artist’s playground of Kassel, Germany, de Maria buried a kilometer-long, five-centimeter-round brass pole, its top is flush with the ground. Something about the conceptual nature of a work that is more or less inaccessible but at the same time very present resonates with me.

So Christoph Buchel’s underground plane proposal in Kern County (a few hours north of Los Angeles) caught my eye. The project, called “Terminal,” was just approved to move forward, and Buchel will be financing it all himself, including purchasing the hulking 727 and the necessary equipment and expertise to place it underground. But unlike de Maria’s piece, the plane will be visible — to a select few. Here’s what Curbed LA had to say about it:

The plane will be connected to parking about 420 feet away by a tunnel, which will start ten feet below grade and slop down to 25 feet below grade. The idea is to make the land look as untouched as possible and there will be no external structures or signs to indicate that there’s a giant airplane buried there.

It’s an incredibly privileged piece, as only 780 people a year will see it. As artist Man Bartlett tweeted, maybe it doesn’t matter to a man who can afford to finance such a project by himself. But then again, what percent of the world will ever see the inside of a plane in their life, whether below ground or above?

AX Mina (aka An Xiao Mina) is an author, artist and futures thinker who follows her curiosity. She co-produces Five and Nine, a podcast about magic, work and economic justice. 

12 replies on “Artist to Bury an Airplane Underground and Call It Art”

    1. That’s just bizarre. Do you think they were at the same dinner party? Though, if ONE more person does it I’m officially calling it a “zeitgeist moment” … I mean, three is a pattern 😉

  1. I like the image associated with this article. As a drawing/rendering/diagram, I think the image will turn out be more compelling than the actual piece…Also, the WTF coincidence factor of two artists doing this same thing is definitely 11. 

  2. I like the illustration that accompanies the article. I dont think I would get much out of seeing the actual work, but I like the image as a sort of “idea on paper”

  3. My brother used to bury huge items in our huge backyard. He once took my tea table which was, let’s say, about the size of two average ottomans, my two little baby chairs, my entire tea set, and two dollies and buried them. I hated playing tea anyway and much preferred his trucks. So, as a gesture of scorn toward gendered playthings, I’d give his work a thumbs up.

    The buried planes: not so much.

  4. Be more gutsy if he buried it under the Freedom Tower, Pentagon, Walmart, or Mexican border… Or rather, let’s start a campaign to “Bury it in Bushwick!” Could be part of an ArtFagCity theme park with Jeff Koons Crane and Train….

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