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Professor Anca Trandafirescu's monument HOT AIR displayed in Romania, commemorates decline of communism

HOT AIR is the temporary installation of a large inflatable, inhabitable monument in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the overthrow of the Romanian government. It was on display Nov. 3-7, 2009, in Timisoara, Romania.

The monument is a celebration – a making of an object, space, and series of events – inspired by the improbable and infectious spirit of the ’89 uprising that changed the course of history. The lasting legacy, and subject of HOT AIR’s memorialization, is the optimistic possibility that emerges from collective action and volatile reformations. HOT AIR is constructed of heat sealed polyethylene plastic sheeting, anchored, and inflated with a small fan

It was on display during the American Romanian Music Festival, a venue for visitation by the public, small concerts, planned talks, and impromptu events.

The name HOT AIR refers to both the unusually warm temperatures in Romania during that special week in December 1989, which helped to bring citizens out into the streets to rally against the government; and also to the large amount of rhetoric surrounding these events.

Anca Trandafirescu is the designer of HOT AIR. She is an Assistant Professor in Architecture at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan and a partner in area.architecture. A Romanian by birth, she relocated to the United States in 1973, two years after her family fled the Ceauşescu dictatorship.

The project is sponsored by the following UM units: Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies, Center for European Studies-European Union Center, Center for Russian and East European Studies, and Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning; as well as the City of Timisoara. HOT AIR is a sponsored project in the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia’s fall series, “The Nines: Brinks, Cusps, and Perceptions of Possibility—from 1789-2009.” The project also is among several programs, performances, and events presented by the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia in the Fall 2009 “Focus: Romania” series, which is co-sponsored in part by the American-Romanian Music Festival, founded in Ann Arbor in 2005.

Learn more about HOT AIR here.

Trandafirescu and UM professor of political science, sociology and Germanic languages Andrei Markovits were interviewed on National Public Radio about the installation’s tie-in with the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.

The full interview can be found here.