My Fellow Americans, 1981-88

2004/2008
Performance and video installation
Dimensions variable
10 hrs

In the performance My Fellow Americans: 1981-1988, I read all 34 of Ronald Reagan’s official “Address to the Nation” speeches, beginning with the “Address to the Nation on the Economy”, February 5, 1981 and ending with his “Farewell Address to the Nation”, January 11, 1989. These speeches, presumably delivered to the imagined body called the “American people,” trace the significance of Reagan’s domestic rhetoric in the overall Republican project to lay claim to public political imagination. The performance is “a rally of endurance and exhaustion.”

My Fellow Americans was originally performed at Parlour Projects in Brooklyn, September 2004, as part of the exhibition Republican Like Me, curated by Dean Daderko. Then staged again at PS1 in Queens, for the exhibition Altered, Stitched and Gathered, organized by Christopher Y. Lew, Erica Papernik and Elna Svenle with Jelena Kristic as Project Director.