Proteus Gowanus » bryan m wilson An interdisciplinary gallery and reading room Sat, 19 Sep 2015 22:40:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Atomic Priesthood with artist Bryan Wilson Mon, 18 Mar 2013 15:40:04 +0000 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.



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Secret Wars: Opening Reception Sat, 29 Dec 2012 22:17:00 +0000 Saturday, January 12, 7pm

Predator 2 by Joy Garnett

Secret Wars, the second exhibition in Proteus Gowanus’ yearlong exploration of Battle, explores the cryptic ways of warfare waged behind the cloak of invisibility. From neurophysical conflict deep inside the human amygdala, to the broadcast signals used by spies and intelligence agencies, to the everyday observation of ordinary citizens by omniscient bureaucracies, Secret Wars reveals covert communications hiding in plain sight.

Curated by Proteus Gowanus co-creative director Tammy Pittman and anthropologist Thomas Ross Miller, the exhibition brings artists from New York, Amsterdam and Berlin to trace the gaps, silences, and blackouts that conceal vital and deadly knowledge.

Who controls secret information, and who has the power to understand it? How do we protect ourselves from unseen enemies? Who wins and who loses when the battle is unending and unknowable? Through art, artifacts, books, sound and surveillance, these installations render what is absent present and what is invisible visible. Inside a special room, mysterious and hypnotic short-wave radio messages in unbreakable codes are beamed to hidden spies. Lost treasures, occult symbols and predator drones appear and disappear, closely guarded enigmas shrouded in obscure and half-forgotten codes.

Artists and works include:

Front404 – PanoptICONS
Joy Garnett – Predator series
David Goren – “Atencion! Seis Siete Tres Siete Cero”: The Mystery of the Shortwave Numbers Stations
Nene Humphrey – Circling the Center
Anna Livia Löwendahl-Atomic – Did a Nose Launch a Thousand Ships? and Otophgraphs, fragments from The Mu{e}sum
Renée Ridgway – Revelation of the Concealed: Politics (in)form
Tony Stanzione – Safety First
Smudge Studio – TRANSCOM Room
Bryan M. Wilson – Canticle for Sebeok (Atomic Priesthood)
The Mildred Complex(ity) – Vestments for Ten Millennium (Atomic Priest Suit)

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Object Lessons Wed, 21 Mar 2012 19:30:13 +0000 Friday, March 30, 8-9:30pm
$5 admission

Object Lessons is a one-evening series of tiny lectures based on the objects from the current Proteus exhibition, Object Migration. Object Lessons takes some of these objects and focuses in on their stories, transforming the object into a lense to magnify history and social patterns. The talks will address the history of ornithology in America, nuclear waste since the Bomb, plastics manufacturing, and the contours of the generic object.  Object Migration, the exhibition, is comprised entirely of objects, each one accompanied by a concise story of the object’s migration through space and time.

The Lectures

Bryan M Wilson will focus on the material Trinitite, formed in the first nuclear test blast, July 16, 1945, in the New Mexico desert. He will discuss how it operates as a conceptual vessel and example of human invention interacting on geologic timescales.

Lorena Turner follows the trail of bread tags, the slotted plastic tag used to close plastic bags of bread and other groceries. Patented by Kwiklok Corp in Yakima, Washington, the plastic bag “closures” are big business. Lorena will trace their journey from post-production to your local grocery store.

Sam Droege will trace the lineage of an early 20th century collection bottle containing the contents of a bird’s stomach. The bottle comes from the first ever foray by the Federal government into the study of migratory birds, who, like criminals, cross state lines, thereby attracting Federal scrutiny. Collected in the 1920’s by scientists to determine which birds were “good” and which were “bad” from an economic point of view, most of these bottles have disappeared with time but a few have turned up at Proteus for further study.

Tatiana Istomina will examine all 50 objects in the exhibition using statistics to discuss the commonalities and differences between various clusters of the objects. She will attempt to build a description of a “typical object” in the Object Show.

Our Speakers:

Sam Droege received an undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland and a Master’s at the State University of New York – Syracuse. Most of his career has been spent at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. He has coordinated the North American Breeding Bird Survey Program, developed the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, the Bioblitz, Cricket Crawl, and FrogwatchUSA programs and worked on the design and evaluation of monitoring programs. Currently he is developing an inventory and monitoring program for native bees, online identification guides for North American bees, and with Jessica Zelt, reviving the North American Bird Phenology Program.
Tatiana Istomina was born in Irkutsk, Russia, and grew up in Moscow. She holds a PhD in Geophysics (2010) from Yale University and MFA (2011) from Parsons New School. Her art practice includes painting, drawing and video. She participated in group shows in the US and Russia; in 2010 she had a solo show at the Janus Project in Brooklyn, New York. In 2012, she participated in Proteus Gowanus’ Berlin Tunnel Project. She received several awards, including Joan Mitchell foundation award to go to a residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (2012).
Lorena Turner is a social scientist with a camera. She creates indexes of socialization and contemporary social experience. Her projects are primarily photographic, but contain interviews and video, as well. Her work is shown both nationally and internationally. Lorena received an MFA from the University of Oregon, and teaches photojournalism and documentary studies in the Communication department at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California.
Bryan McGovern Wilson is an artist from Missoula, Montana, whose work addresses themes of time, the body, and ritual. Wilson looks to craft traditions, archaic symbolism, and field research to inform his works about humans interacting with forces greater than themselves. He is a 2012 Creative Glass Center of America Fellow. Wilson lives and works in New York City.



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