target practice

target practice (2021) 
video performance [00:10:10]

Commissioned by Belfast International Festival of Performance Art, target practice was screened both on site at Ulster University and online as part of BIFPA21 online performance programme in March 2021. By immersing the viewer in a captivating soundscape which becomes heightened as the timeline progresses, the individual becomes lured into the act of anticipation.

* * *

Mimicking the anticipation of a goalie who is awaiting an attack, I shift my bodyweight from side to side as my eyes fixate on you. As time passes, these goalie-like gestures slowly transgress into the broken down actions of a person who is held at gun point; a different kind of target practice. A shift in the soundscape occurs as the low ghostly cheers of football fans becomes evident and further intensifies as my hands raise up to signal surrender.

Kitted out in an Irish tracksuit and framed by a bare rusted goal post, my body crouches in front of a centennial wall mural commemorating the Irish Easter Rising. Co-founder of the Socialist Party of Ireland and
 second-in-command for the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the Easter Rising, Michael Mallin joins me in gazing out towards the crowd as the Irish tricolour blazes in the sun. The sound of an early morning Dublin inner city soundscape pierces your ears: birds chirping, cars driving, horses trotting, trains echoing signals.

* * *

target practice pays tribute to those murdered during Bloody Sunday on 21 November 1920, whereon British Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) members, or better known as the Black and Tans, entered Croke Park GAA grounds during a football match and opened fire on Irish spectators and players resulting in fourteen fatalities and wounding over 80 civilians. This attack was a response to an IRA operation which took place earlier that morning involving the assassination of the Cairo Gang; a group of undercover British intelligence agents working and living in Dublin. It is said that the RIC believed that the IRA members who committed these morning assassinations were in the crowd at Croke Park, whilst spectators proclaimed that it was an act of terrorism against innocent Irish civilians. In total, 30 people died as a result of this Sunday massacre.