In Free Fall
by Hito Steyerl

elderly man sitting in front of old aircraft



  • 1Video still from In Free Fall
  • 2In Free Fall installed at Picture This, 2010

In Free Fall video still


Through intertwined narratives of people, planes and places Steyerl reveals cycles of capitalism incorporating and adapting to the changing status of the commodity, but also points at a horizon beyond this endless repetition.

"Falling is a transition. It is a movement from one position to another. In as much as it suggests failure or ruin, to love is also to fall. It is corruption, revolution and abandonment. It implies a relationship. Hito Steyerl's In Free Fall charts a singular object, the Boeing 707-700 4X-JYI airplane, in this process of falling. Less the story of an object's production and eventual obsolescence, In Free Fall documents a life made visible through consecutive moments of destruction."
- Gil Leung

Hito Steyerl's films are a montage of pop and politics, Hollywood and independent film, interviews and voice-over commentaries, all combined into provocative filmic analyses of the present. In Free Fall incorporates a trio of works: Before the Crash, After the Crash and Crash, which tell the story of the current global economic crisis through the example of an aeroplane junkyard in the Californian desert. The aeroplane junkyard reveals the anatomy of all sorts of crashes: both fictional and real. This is an investigation of planes as they are parked during the economic downturn, stored and recycled, revealing unexpected connections between economy, violence and spectacle. An example of this is the Boeing 4X-JYI, first acquired by film director Howard Hughes for TWA, which then flew for the Israeli Airforce before it was blown up for the Hollywood blockbuster, Speed. But the economic crisis doesn't stop short of affecting the film industry either.


Year 2010
Duration 33 minutes 42 seconds
Medium Single screen video projection
Original format HDV 1080p25
Screening format MPEG-2 HD Transport Stream
Aspect ratio 16:9
Audio Yes
Colour / B&W Colour
Screens 1


In Free Fall is a new work co-commissioned by Collective, Edinburgh, Chisenhale Gallery, London and Picture This, Bristol.

Funded with the support of Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen.

Screening History:

Collective, Edinburgh, UK
29 July - 19 September 2010

Picture This, Bristol, UK
01 - 30 October 2010

Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK
04 November - 19 December 2010

Signal + Noise Media Art Festival, Vancouver

Artissima, Turin
November 2011

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Hito Steyerl

Hito Steyerl is an internationally acclaimed artist and theoretician based in Berlin.

After before now: Notes on In Free Fall

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