Saturday, November 14, 2009


HOT AIR shot from the Timisoara Opera House

radio interview on "Detroit Today" on 11-11-09

I was interviewed on the local NPR radio station a couple of days ago about HOT AIR. It has been a bit of a re-entry whirlwind, but I was quite happy to get the work noticed a bit more, so I did it. The show, "Detroit Today" on local NPR was looking back to the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of communism thoughout eastern Europe that followed. (I am about three-quarters of the way through the "tape")

I am about to write an essay on the project. I have been preparing it in my mind for quite a while now, but yesterday I had to make some decisions about the course that this story will now take because I am writing an explanatory press release for design publications. I don't often think of publicity as a good thing, but in the course of having to jump into the press to talk about my work, I have had to draw conclusions about the project which have forced me to be focused again on what I was trying to achieve. And here's the thing, for a while now I've been less open or forthcoming about the work. This didn't happen out of malice but rather out of inexperience... and I'm not sure it could have happened any other way... but I have been guarded about my thoughts and intentions with the work because of my inability to predict the resulting outcomes. Would I still be allowed to go to Romania? Would Timisoara still embrace, support, and promote the work? Would there be sympathy from the public? In the end, and in retrospect, it seems likely that none of my fears would have materialized and, in fact, that much of the paranoia went the way of the communist regime. So, seemingly I could have said a bit more... and soon I will.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

moving air

Videos! You can see how the head feels and looks with people inside. This was from Wednesday night and we had many visitors. The shadow projections were great even for us as we had never tested the piece at night.

blue from HOT AIR 2009 - Anca T on Vimeo.

This second video, from Wednesday morning, shows the rocking motion of the piece in the low winds. The head really feels like it's waking up from a long sleep. There's a jackhammer in the background which coincides with some of the movement and we thought sounded like snoring. On this day and the day before we learned a lot about how to manage the movement due to wind, so now we have it down, but we did incur one tear in the bottom.Now I'm thinking of using this movement in the conception of another piece... hmmmmmm... kinetic inflatables.

waking up in eastern europe from HOT AIR 2009 - Anca T on Vimeo.

This last viedo is a time lapse animation of the head as it was illuminated last night. We asked our lighting guys here (Bogdi and Alex!) to use two different lights and to keep them moving as an experiment. The music scoring was obviously added later. We chose this song simply because we thought the beat went and it made us smile, but now that I think about it, this song has some capitalist warnings, no?

chromocranium from HOT AIR 2009 - Anca T on Vimeo.

Images from Wednesday, NOV 4 PART I (daytime)

Hi everyone! This is Le, pretending to be Anca. Yesterday was a very exciting day for us. The weather was a bit dreary in the morning, but contrary to's predictions, the skies cleared and wind speeds were perfect, allowing us to inflate.  We had a lot of people stop by to ask us questions, to go inside the head, and to tell us their stories.  It was really great.  We even had a visit from the mayor and a group of government officials including a US senator.

Also, Hot Air is now on Flickr!  Visit to view more pictures of our trip.

government officials inside the head

Alex and Bogdan, guys who have been helping us out, everyday

view from inside out

view from outside in

excited children going inside the head

images from Wednesday NOV 4 PART II (Nightime)

Here some images from our installation last night.... more to come if our connection holds out from outside where we are sitting. enjoy and write to us and tell us what you think!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

i forgot to mention the graffiti

There will be some prominent graffiti artists in Piata Victoriei today and tomorrow. Because much of the art of the revolution was graffiti and much of it was lost in the months and years that followed, the idea is that the artists are using that mode of expression to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the revolution.

cool. I will develop my tag tonight...

International media frenzy

Unfortunately the winds today were too high to install, so are waiting until tomorrow when there is better weather predicted. 
I did get to participate in a press conference where the mayor of Timisoara, Gheorghe Ciuhandu, introduced our project, and then I presented it in a bit more depth (in english, whew!) Of course, I forgot to say some things that were important to me, but mostly I think it went well. Afterward, I was interviewed by the national Romanian media (Ava stood beside me the whole time) and am wondering if I'll see myself on the news tonight... autographs later.

Here are some of the women who work at the city hall. Lavinia, the one on the left is the one who helped me extensively. She was a real champion for the project in Romania, finding sponsors and publicizing the whole event. She also served as my translator and has helped create and distribute schedules. She has been a real treasure throughout the process. Thank you, Lavinia.

we're in Timisoara

We made it here Sunday night. Timisoara! We traveled by train from Bucharest for nine hours and arrived at about 7:30 in the evening. The best part of the trip was getting close to the Danube. At times the train was riding right along side the water. We were losing the light, but this made the whole scene even more intense. I was supposed to get some work done, but spent the whole time with my eyes on the landscape. I had forgotten the pleasure of riding on a train through the country. Speaking of trains, ours was very good. Gone are the old cars, we rode in a nice new car with very comfortable seats that reclined. We also had electrical power.

Timisoara is quite lovely and the square we are on, Piata Victoriei (Victory Plaza), is really large and, in my opinion, the most beautiful of the public squares here.

We spent all day Monday preparing the inflatable for its presentation Tuesday. This meant unpacking the crate, setting up all of the electricity, and adding our new and improved anchors. This took about four hours but all went well. After a bite we returned and inflated on the square for the first time. The winds were a bit higher than we liked but we managed to secure all of the anchors in place. The head looked great even with the protective fencing around it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

HOT AIR in Timisoara!

The piece has made it to Romania without problems. No customs issues. We thought it might get hung up along the way because of the unusual contents. In the past there would have been greater difficulty moving things in and out of the country. This happened not because the contents were illegal or controversial, but because the old system was suited for corruption. Today, this piece arrived as it would have in any other place of "free" exchange. It was checked in and allowed to pass. The amount of access to goods and services is perhaps one measure of a democratic, uh, trajectory... In any case, I am encouraged.

Below are some pictures from Timisoara's city hall where it is waiting for us to arrive and assemble. (Thank you Lavinia!) It's a little funny to see the box there so far away when it was here only a week ago. Further proof that the world is small these days........ 

The next posts should be of us traveling to get there and then assembling and mounting the piece. We leave in one week. I will update here and on facebook about our activities, so stay tuned..

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Goodbye Hot Air

Today we packed and readied the crate that Genn built for the shipping of Hot Air for Romania. This last step has taken a long time to arrive with many lessons and quirky anecdotes along the way. In the end, those stories will be as much, if not more, of the project than the piece itself. I can't quite tell them yet though because I don't want to influence the reception of the work....... Here's how we spent the day:

Inspectors von Beulow

At the U-M inflation test we were lucky to have the guarding services of the the two brave von Beulow brothers. They tested the seams, air pressure, weight, and anchoring of the head with their own bodies. all the while keeping the crowds under control. Thank you von Beulows!

Inspctors von Beulow from HOT AIR 2009 - Anca T on Vimeo.

video from U-M set up

here's the head as mounted on Monday, October 5th. I didn't shoot very much, but this clip shows the amount of rolling and scrunching the head makes when there's a bit of wind.

Heavy Breathing from HOT AIR 2009 - Anca T on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

it's official! we can blow our head up

you're still invited, but now on MONDAY!

where: Palmer Field (400 Washtenaw Ave.), University of Michigan 
when: MONDAY OCTOBER 5, 3:30 - 6:00

come out and say hello........

Saturday, September 26, 2009

from above

here's a screen cap from multimap which happens to have caught our project while inflated in the backyard of our house! Thanks to Karl D. for alerting us to it. Thanks to multimap for waiting to take the picture until we were fully up.

(Thanks too to all of you who thought this was real... It's big, but not that big... sorry for any confusion.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Feeling small

further inflations

PART I: Unfurling from HOT AIR 2009 - Anca T on Vimeo.

PART II: Blowing it up from HOT AIR 2009 - Anca T on Vimeo.


A small catalogue of images of inflatable projects...