In Auditions for a Revolution, the Romanian artist Irina Botea engages with the Romanian revolution of December 1989. The images of this revolution, which was the first to be broadcast on television ‚ the famous scene in the besieged TV-studio ‚ have deeply embedded themselves in the collective memory. In December 2005, exactly 16 years after the revolution, Irina Botea invited young people in Chicago ‚ art school students ‚ to 'auditions for a revolution'.

Scene by scene, they go through the television images of 1989, and re-enact the situations and constellations. At first, the gestures of 2005 seem a little robotic and funny, but gradually the actors perform their roles with increasing skill. Botea, who witnessed the events personally, gets the young Americans to speak the original dialogues from the videos and films of 1989. The difficulties that arise from pronouncing the Romanian language, which the actors cannot speak, become an impressive metaphor for the difficulties of reading history. The artist juxtaposes the original material with recordings of the re-enactments. Through confronting a document with its recreation, a strange alliance of these two time periods develops, while at the same time an immense gap becomes apparent.

Irina Botea's work is an attempt to (re-)inscribe oneself in a sequence of media images that constitutes history. Possibly, it is also an attempt to develop sympathy with the more or less active protagonists of a historical situation to which we now only have access in a strongly media-dependent form. (text by Inke Arns)