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Would You Die For Ireland?

- 2003

"In 2003 The Robert Emmet Society commissioned a number of contempory Irish artists to respond to the revolutionary period 1798- 1803, on the occasion of the bi-centenary of Robert Emmet's death in 1803. Dublin's Kilmainham Gaol (now a kind of Interpretative Centre) was the venue for the show entitled 'Dearcadh'. Many of the artists, like John, used cells in the large central area of the prison for their individual pieces.

'Would you die for Ireland?' a projected 12 minute digital video, was shot in Dublin, Belfast and Cork over the Summer months of 2003. It simply involved me stopping people in the sreet and asking them 'The Question'. The recorded responses varied from the banal to the profound involving a wide cross-section of people living in Ireland today. From the head of Government to newly arrived immigrants. From Orangemen at the Twelfth of July celebrations to Gaelic football supporters at Croke Park, Dublin.

With so many differentcharactors and answers back to back, the effect was that of an absurd debate around an issue that appeared popular and current. Placing the piece in Killmainham Gaol, a building of such significance in Irish history, particularly around the loaded issue of martyerdom gave it added significance. It's since travelled to exhibitions in Cork, Berlin and Belfast. "


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