Poet: Micah Purnell

Dear Progress by Micah Purnell

Poet: | Nationality: | Filmmaker:

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A pair of videos by Mark “Sparky” Tuson documenting a fascinating public poetry-ish project in Manchester a few years ago.

Artist Micah Purnell writes an ‘open letter’ on billboards to make you think. Twenty-one billboards in Manchester will display artwork that discuss some of the challenges facing consumers of Western progress. 24 March 2014 – 7 April 2014

Sadly, the project’s website is no longer online, but you can still read an article about the installation by Kate Feld at creativetourist.com.

[Purnell’s] messages draw a lot of their inspiration from Oliver James’ book Affluenza: How to Be Successful and Stay Sane, a bleakly brilliant polemic against a society infected by rampant capitalism. Basically, James says, the richer we get, the unhappier and more anxious we become. The more things we have, the less we value ourselves, the more we seek satisfaction through buying stuff and attempting to conform to impossible aspirations, put in our minds with the express purpose of turning a profit. To see these messages sprout in advertising space seems deliciously provocative.

Read the rest. (And visit Micah Purnell’s website.) Although Purnell does not claim his brief “letters” are poetry, the first video could easily qualify as a videopoem, I think.