Rhys Feeney is a British born poet and teacher living and working in Wellington. Besides teaching the beauty of the English language, Rhys writes poems to forget about his angst and sense of dislocation in the eyes of consumerism and climate change. Often merging the highly personal with the bleakly generic, his poems seek to understand the apathies and oxymorons plaguing the 21st Century's individual.
Rhys wrote an unusual poem specifically for the Nomadic Art Gallery collection and infused it with Post-internet aesthetics. Its visual set-up, a chaos of excel sheets, chrome tabs, to-do lists, Word, Photo-shop, is a familiar sight for many. At first, you would not think it is a poem because the grid looks like a digital puzzle of words supported by interrelated program images. The icons indicate an outdated program version thus inducing a form of nostalgia emblematic of the Net Age’s constantly updating.
This conceptual aspect reinforces Rhys poems’ thematics of consumerism and climatic confrontation. Since the words are scattered around immaterial digital structures, the spectator anxiously looks for the body of the poem. From the moment the words sink in and the visual connections are made , the activist message, not so subtly hidden in his oeuvre of poems published in magazines like Starling, Mimicry, AUP and Landfall, obtains a great urgency. Exactly seven minutes later, we are already distracted by ideas and tasks.
Feeney performed as poet for The Nomadic Art Gallery's exhibition Freedom in Wellington. He also added his artisict mark on the truck's public participatory artwork, by writing an extract of one of his poems on the fuel tank, as shown below.
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