U-M Professor to Erect Inflatable Monument to the Romanian Revolution in Ann Arbor and Romania


By Rachel Brichta
Sep 29, 2009

DATE: Displayed in Ann Arbor: October 2; Timisoara, Romania: November 3-7, 2009

In December 2009, twenty years after the Romanian government was overthrown and its dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, and his wife were quickly tried, sentenced to death, and executed, U-M professor Anca Trandafirescu will erect a monument to that dark chapter in the otherwise peaceful events of Central and Eastern Europe’s 1989 revolutions. Trandafirescu, an assistant professor in architecture, is constructing an inflatable, inhabitable monument?in the iconic shape of the head of a fallen statue?that will first be displayed in Ann Arbor on October 2 from 3:30-6:00 pm at Palmer Field on the University of Michigan campus (in case of inclement weather, it will be rescheduled for October 5). She will then transport the materials to Romania, where the project, HOT AIR, will again be on display, this time on the Piata Victoriei (Victory Plaza) in Timisoara. The location is an expansive public space and was chosen for this project because it was the site of the first large demonstrations that led to the fall of the Ceausescu dictatorship. The inflatable monument will be erected and remain open throughout the duration of the American-Romanian Music Festival, where Prof. Trandafirescu intends for HOT AIR to be 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. An anticipated by-product of the staging of HOT AIR is a video archive of citizen responses to the monument and reflections on the revolutionary events of 1989.

Professor Anca Trandafirescu came to the Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning at the University of Michigan in 2005, where she teaches courses in architecture design, theory, and representation. She has a B.Arch. from Temple University and an M.Arch. from The Bartlett, University College London. A Romanian by birth, she relocated to the United States in 1973, two years after her family fled the Ceausescu dictatorship.

SPONSORS: The project is sponsored by the following U-M 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 Festival.

WEB LINKS: www.hotair2009.blogspot.com/ and www.ii.umich.edu/wcee