In military terms, Direct Aim explains the physical premise of shooting straight at the target. Political demonstrations are typically fraught with tension between military forces and the demonstrators themselves, because accidents invariably occur in this type of heated and frenetic environment, and innocent civilians often end up hurt. The proponents of the injured parties complain about the brutality of such shootings, and the military inevitably claims that it did not shoot at the innocent parties with the intention of ‘Direct Aim’. It is a reoccurring situation, adding an entirely new dimension of unnecessary violence to what is often an already fiery military atmosphere.
Meir Tati aims to explore that very same tension, in his own rendition of Direct Aim, a mixed media, interactive piece that situates Tati as a living crash-test dummy; a motionless freestanding target, shot at by his audience, one at a time and on a one-to-one basis. Videos of the private ‘shootings’ are streamed outside in a separate space, placing Tati alone in a room with a single shooter, and therefore creating an entirely new moral landscape, each time a new person enters the room. By creating this sense of intimacy, Tati creates a space where the shooter/spectator can feel comfortable with him or herself, so that their choices can occur organically and genuinely.
The shooters must choose from a selection of balls, varying in texture, size and hardness, and direct their shot at Tati with a gun that works on compressed air. By placing the audience inside the piece, Tati brings them into a certain kind of experiment; an experiment that deconstructs the passive nature of art, inviting spectators to step outside of that preconceived role, and instead, take an active part in work. For Tati, the audience always exists during the performance, but never when he is planning it, making this an ever-shifting variable that keeps the exercise fluid and dynamic, and tinges the energy of each show with its own distinctive essence.
Tati is interested in raising the stakes, thereby forcing his audience to dig even deeper into their ethical worldview. A separate video that was shot with a high-definition camera in slow motion, shows what happens to the body when it is struck by all varieties of objects, the film meaning to evoke some kind of military experiment, not unlike the daily testing of boundaries that occurs on the streets of political demonstrations worldwide. Tati ultimately creates a unique setting where the body, his body, becomes a testing ground for play-infused decision-making that speaks directly to the paradoxical phenomenon of intentional and unintentional violence.