The Man Who Buries Planes (BBC Radio 4)


Turner-prize nominated Roger Hiorns has always dreamed of burying aeroplanes

“I don’t know when exactly it started. It’s got something to do with taking something out of the air, and putting it under the skin of the land,”

Over several months, we follow Roger in his quest to bury a MiG 21 next to a science park on the outskirts of Prague, in collaboration with the Galerie Rudolfinum – one of Czech Republic’s most prestigious contemporary art galleries.

They acquire the MiG by chance, the most widely produced supersonic fighter plane in the Eastern bloc during the cold war. To some Czechs, it looks like a toy – to others, it symbolises a painful moment in history.

Roger also takes us to a former RAF airbase in East Anglia. There, gathering mold, is a British ex-military jet which has enjoyed a truly unusual life. It’s now destined to make one final journey to the Netherlands where it will be buried on the land of a private collector. Unlike the Prague burial, people will be able to enter this plane from above ground and sit inside.

For art critic Adrian Searle, these burials speak eloquently about environmental issues and globalisation. It’s about misplacing objects, playing with systems of power and questioning brute masculinity.

In a mysterious corner of Suffolk, we encounter Farmer Tim. Intrigued by the project, he helped Roger to bury a plane on his land last summer.

This was also selected for Radio 4’s Seriously podcast and Pick of The Week. It also won the Grand Jury Prize for Audio at the Telling Tales Festival 2018

Produced by Victoria Ferran for Just Radio
Exec producer: Susan Marling

Broadcast: April 2018