Monday, April 1 at 7pm
Secret Wars artist Bryan M. Wilson will discuss his ongoing, multidisciplinary project, The Atomic Priesthood, and the two attendant installations at the Proteus Gowanus space, The Canticle for Sebeok and Vestments for Ten Millennia. Wilson will address the ecological stewardship, strategies for deep-time communication, and ritual inherent to the project and how an artistic practice can bridge seemingly disparate conditions. The talk will be a survey of The Atomic Priesthood’s genesis, status, and potential future as it expands to collaborate with other potent collectives such as Smudge Studio and The Mildred Complex(ity).
The Atomic Priesthood is an ongoing, multidisciplinary art project that draws from the unique history and conditions of nuclear waste management. These byproducts of nuclear weapons and energy manufacture remain volatile to human life and ecosystems for tens of thousands of years. Noted semiotician Thomas A. Sebeok was commissioned by the US Office of Nuclear Waste Management to address the complex problem of long-term, geologic stewardship of nuclear waste materials. He produced a report entitled “Communication Measures to Bridge Ten Millenia”, proffering a potential solution to spanning these enormous gulfs of time that went far beyond creating systems of marking and practical infrastructure. He proposed that a select group of individuals be indoctrinated into a secret network of information whereby the particulars of nuclear waste, it’s repositories, its dangers and its management be sustained over millennia through ritual and allegory. Sebeok dubbed this group the “Atomic Priesthood”.
Attracted to this poetic notion of engaging time and materials, Wilson has taken inspiration from Sebeok and the history of nuclear science to illustrate the duties, rituals, and material culture of this imagined Priesthood.