Inaugural Speech was performed during the opening of the festival inSITE97, a public art exhibition organised by the governments of the United States and Mexico that took place over five editions in the border cities of San Diego and Tijuana. Following the customary speeches given by the attending politicians, Andrea Fraser began her performance by going up to the podium to thank the organisers. After some kind words in which she spoke as an artist, she went on to talk as a curator, then as a public official and finally as an official sponsor, adopting the tone and form of a welcoming address and celebration in the often-pompous rhetoric of official speeches. Taking advantage of the format of the opening and the strong presence of Mexican federal officials who cut the tape and spoke, Fraser satirised the self-satisfied positions of bureaucrats, public officials and artistic patrons. Fraser’s ‘inaugural speech’, rich in inflections and full of political references, emphasised the mechanisms of power, financial interests and abuse of influence underlying artistic philanthropic practices as well as institutionalised ones. With her discursive performance, Fraser demanded more autonomy for artistic creation and a real and effective freedom of expression. In a border context often characterised by illegal crossings from Mexico to the United States, this reflection makes even more sense.
Gold does not take on any dirt. And gold, just are diamonds, is an exalted material. It possesses such a degree of abstraction that it encounters you –if you use it artistically– on an already exalted level.