About Women On Aeroplanes

agency for flying ideas

Inflight Magazine | Exhibition | Gathering | Research | Film Production

Women on Aeroplanes provides a framework that is constantly changing and multiplying, in different ways, at various places and in varying formats. The research-based, artistic project aims to gain a broader understanding of what independence and interdependence means, enabling us to see and understand a women-informed, shattered presence of complicated dependencies. In this respect, unorthodox perspectives and a focus on entangled working and gender relations need to be raised that, exceeds a project of replacing heroes with heroines. To make her contribution to history and the moments of her disappearance visible, also asks for a different valorisation of her work and a picture that frames relations and communities rather than individual profiles.

Looking closely at the long history of transatlantic networks and the struggles for liberation, predating the process of independence on the African continent (and elsewhere), women were always important and played all kinds of roles, but their stories are hardly told and their faces remain widely invisible. Not only do we want to frame their various and heterogeneous contributions, politically and artistically, but also create new parameters and premises of storytelling. To recall the notion of independence today can only mean to address the gap between formal independence and a process of decolonisation that was simultaneously national and intranational, transnational and international and which remains, in many ways, incomplete.

Women on Aeroplanes, the project's title, is borrowed loosely from Kojo Laing’s critically acclaimed second novel Woman of the Aeroplanes, written in 1988. With its deconstructive syntax and implosion of genres, the novel sets the tone for a historic narrative, in which subordinate subject-object relations are deleted. Laing’s method of a speculative fiction writing can be seen as a making-of theory with other means. Using it as one of the reference points might help to design a new grammar that consequently contributes to making re-visiting and re-writing history possible.  

Furthermore, Women on Aeroplanes opens up a range of associative meanings connected to travelogues, class-system, accessibility, choice of profession, crossing borders, dress-codes and not least the importance of national airlines in the euphoric days of independence. The longing for independence often accompanies the claim for freedom of movement, be it a geographical, political or artistic crossing of time and space.


Curated by Annett Busch, Marie-Hélène Gutberlet, Magdalena Lipska and the Otolith Collective.


The first set of iterations (2017-2019) was coproduced by Iwalewahaus, Universität Bayreuth, and funded by the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

Exhibitions and gatherings have been realised in collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, ifa-Galerie Berlin, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, The Showroom, London and TOR Art-Space, Frankfurt/Main.