Nuclear Castle was an apocalypse-themed high concept art show held on December 15th at Unseen Gallery in mid-city, curated by Valentine Enterprises, and shared with my dystopian comrades.
All of the photography in this post is shot by, and courtesy of, the incredible MJ Katz. She's a fantastic photographer and even more fantastic person.
TW for unchill men traumas; skip ahead to the pink text (like this) where I talk about physics if you don't wish to read the more uncomfortable content.
The speech begins as follows: I’m Dr. Nastya Valentine “from” law school. Welcome to my nuclear castle keynote speech. Through my words tonight I will induce a savage journey to the heart of the prepostnuclear apocalypse dream. Nightmare? You decide.
I give myself this platform to talk about the things I believe are important to people who can do extraordinary things with this knowledge.
By the end of the night we are all gonna be nuclear researchers, expert survivalists, trauma coaches, SWAT team trainees, and Leary-esque doctors of psychedelic therapy.
The premise of this event is not that different or far off from what is going on around us. Nuclear Castle’s narrative of dystopic, post-apocalyptic survivors trapped in a massive but safe reactor from the outside dangers of the world trying to get in contact with Tim Leary’s spirit via healing energy and thermonuclear science is maybe a little extra, but it’s it is real and it is married to our perception.
Idealistic as it may be, I want everything I do to have positive implications. On my community, on the environment, on the future, on the network of vibes in general. Obviously it’s impossible for actions and the causal chain to be 100% good but what I hope for is to bring to the surface as much of the micro paradises that we all have within as well as the darkness, the unknown, the terrifying subconscious, and just go through it. Often, when times of anxiety, sadness, fear, shame, trouble happen, the best thing to do is to let yourself go through it. Repression is a great coping mechanism, and everyone handles trauma differently, but flattened experiences do fester. Even going through something by yourself, if you don’t wish to share it with anyone, share it with yourself, go through it, transcend the fear, and emerge clearer. Have that intense experience.
Before we delve into the physics lab, I’m gonna start out sharing a few relatable experiences about myself. At Party Castle, I talked about my recovery from a decade long eating disorder, a mental disease that was partially self-imposed, partially environmental. At Space Castle, I discussed my physical injuries and the repercussions of not minding healthcare, because accidents happen and there is a lot of shit out of our control. At Nuclear Castle, I’m going to share something that is not the fault of me or the fault of nature/circumstance, but the fault of men. I’m serious. I see a lot of men in the audience; just listen. First of all, this goes without saying, CONSENT IS FUCKING VITAL. Do whatever you want, but like, a hard yes, you need a hard yes. Respect the no. This is kindergarten.
Second of all. Bitch. Me too. Boundless me toos. How horribly depressing, yet somehow I feel like we are standing on the precipice of justice.
Rose McGowan is my hero right now. Bjork, calling out Lars Von Trier. All the people online sharing their stories. It’s painful and inspiring. The nature of sexual assaults is extremely difficult to talk about as there are so many variants and proof can be intangible, but I applaud and stand by everyone who has braved the swamp of discouragement and shared their grievances. Fuck Weinstein!!!! Fuck all of those guys. This is hell.
It would be topical, now that’s seen time pass and there is a social unity surrounding, to talk about how a few years ago I was in a traumatizing manipulative relationship with a rich, successful, handsome Hollywood executive twenty five years my senior, who in this abridged version of airing of grievances, was someone who preyed on my vulnerability as a young woman just starting in the film industry. I just wanted to make films!!!!!!!!!!! I only wanted to contribute to cinema, and Hollywood had the audacity to fuck me up and ruin not only my professional goals but my soul and personality. How rude!
Gaslighting is fucking scary. You think nuclear bombs are scary? How about an abusive, manipulative relationship? I’m embarrassed to admit this, given how much pride I take in my perception and ability to question authority and defy rules, especially ones imposed by men, that in that time a few years ago how feckly things aligned for me negatively and just spiraled. He promised me career success that was contingent on a relationship. He convinced me that I should stop making art, only do what he said, and that my point of view on everything was invalid. I convinced myself that I needed a successful adult male companion to guide me after being rejected by a childish fuckboy. He further stated that if I didn’t follow his instructions, I would “have a zero percent chance of success, and be blowing out the candles on 30th birthday cake as a loser with nothing to my name, and that at 22 I’m getting old and will be over the hill soon and no boyfriends will want me once I’m not hot.”
It was cultish. He called our dates “appointments”. At the bottom of my heart I didn’t want this but his persuasiveness, aggressiveness, and success, combined with my desperation and naivite, spiraled me to this hot mess. I resisted but somehow in my self-destructive inertia I eventually caved. Sexually it wasn't as traumatizing as it was psychologically but let me remind you that the two are intertwined and that coercion, threats, guilt tripping, manipulation, using passive violence to make someone have sex with you is a form of sexual assault. It is a spectrum. Time and time again I deluded myself that this was normal and this was good and every Hollywood hoe goes through this rite of passage. There is nothing wrong with being a hoe, btw, as long as it’s on your own terms and there’s consent and you're having fun and feeling good and liberated, not trapped and resentful.
One day after he tried to get me to sign a relationship contract (hello, red flag??) I sent him an email telling him “I will not contact you again so please do me the same respect". While that email was tame and respectful, I internally was furious, depressed, embarrassed, fucking LIVID on the inside, at this psychopath predator and at myself for believing the bullshit. Needless to say, it took a while for me to psychologically get back to normal. I deal. I survive successfully, I survive success, I thrive in failure.
This is my hell. This is me crawling out post-death, shedding my skin. I AM the devil. As horrified I was to delve into this emotionally for so long, and then as much as I fantasized about cold blooded revenge on my manipulators, the appropriate justice is me being here now and knowing that I am strong, that I am doing what I want, that no one can tell me what to do not even my dad, that knowing that transcendence is possible and that I’ll live.
I switched my career path to healthcare/spa esthetics/self-care so now I don’t give a fuck if Hollywood blacklist me. Ban me, please. Excommunicate the shit out of me. But I won’t be silenced. I’m resilient like a fucking cockroach. An angry, vulnerable, bedazzled, existentially pissed cockroach. I see the light at the end of the nuclear reactor. The light that casts over everything and pulls the shadows out of the darkness, exposing the horrors within.
That is just Hollywood. Just the celebs. And not all of them. And as balls frightened as I am thinking about my experience, the majority of stories are more intense than mine. Will there be any non-predatory men left in the entertainment industry? What about work, regular work? What about space? How do you find true love amidst piles of trash? Dig, bitch.
Anyway, if anyone knows where Elon Musk is, tell him I’m ready for marriage. No more relationships for me. Just straight up marriage. Commitment. Next castle is Wedding Castle. I shall be marrying my cardboard cutout of myself. Even if it’s illegal. Especially if it’s illegal. Commitment.
You know what I’m committed to? Making sure you know about Nuclear Power. I didn’t get a degree from Bard for nothing!
Let’s unpack what nuclear power is. I’ve generously decided to do a FAQ, a faq, a ffaaq, cause I’m faqqqqqing tired of ppl asking me these questions all the time.
How does nuclear power work?
Atoms are the smallest units of an element, so small that even using quantum monitoring, predicting their behavior is often incorrect. Each atom is made of a nucleus, made of ps and ns, surrounded by electrons, which attract to the center of the atom by electromagnetic force. The neutrons in the nucleus attract to each other by nuclear force.
Reactors are fueled by uranium ~ naturally splits and releases neutrons, this is called nuclear fission or uranium fission~
When a loose neutron fires into a nearby uranium nucleaus, the atom becomes unstable and splits. Each split generates heat and boils water. This turns turbines and generates electricity. This chain reaction and subparticle instability creates a stable energy source. Water is available to cool the heat energy and acts as a nuclear poison to stop nuclear reactions, to cool down the heat.
Splitting the atom generates heat on a subatomic level. “that’s hot”
Nuclear power is carbon-free power. However, it causes radiation and is stored as toxic waste, which is not sustainable since there is limited space. To damage control, there has to be some way to convert toxic waste to usable and safe form. Whoever wants to design a system that filters nuclear waste with no hazard to the environment, your Nobel War Prize is waiting for you.
Can we launch toxic waste into the sun?
No, Elon, because first of all we don’t have the technology to go that far, we can barely get to Mars; second of all, we could miss the sun if we miscalculate and cancel the orbital velocity of the earth; third of all, such a launch could cause the sun to react like a bomb. The sun is already technically an immaculately controlled hydrogen bomb drifting in feckless space so throwing a bomb on a bomb I can imagine would have unpleasant consequences. Leave this question to the geologists, who are creating underground areas to house this pollution. I’m gonna pass this question to Geologist from animal collective and see what he has to say.
What is radiation?
Some more basic bitch nuclear physics.
Heat moving through a vacuum. Release of energy waves. Cosmic rays. Heat rays. Loe energy to high energy. It’s a broad term. Your wifi is radiation. These pyramid LEDs are technically radiation. The harmless shit is non-ionizing radiation. The dangerous shit is ionizing radiation. It’s high energy, and when it hits an atom, it absorbs that energy and causes its weakest electron to pop off. Enough hits of this kind of popper, and this creates a charged atom called an ion. Enough ionic hits can cause chemical tissue changes. Radiation poisoning happens when these ion poppers mess with DNA, which is made of atoms obviously, by changing its structure or breaking off pieces of its strands.
Radioisotopes are radioactive atoms that are unstable, or have an uneven nucleaus. Doctors can inject radioactive isotopes into patients and scan them in a MRI machine, which is how you can scan for breaks and robots and tumors in the body.
Also…. Alpha, beta, and gamma radioactive decay.
Can a computer read your mind?
Definitely; I literally as I was writing this speech was looking on google and I typed in one “r” and it immediately went to “radioactive decay” which is what I was thinking of at the time, silently. My computers and I are like a microcosmic hivemind though. We have a psychic and mutually parasitic relationship. I don’t mind it. It’s one of the most fulfilling relationships in my life.
Moving forward, I think wearable/implanted biotech is the way it’s going. That’s what I was thinking when I invented the Google Lattice in 2013, which is kind of like a neural lace that combines the spiritual properties of ayahuasca with the connectivity of the digital grid. Pass.
Do atoms have strings?
This isn’t a discussion on string theory; if you want to talk about string theory, you can buy my book.
Is the Russian military using nanobots to build nuclear weapons?
I’m afraid as a Russian spy, I can’t share that information with you. Nanotech is hot right now in neuroscience and environmental remediation, which is sort of like a rehab for the forests and healing the planet type of thing. Healing with bots.
What is your workout like?
It is rigorous. It is like a SWAT team bootcamp. Many of the moves are classified. Some are taken from classical ballet. I usually have to take a Xanax afterwards.
Can you show me an image of Descartes doing math?
Absolutely. Penso, logo existo.
I used to hate Descartes because his demon dream theory drove me up the wall and I did not fuck with mind body dualism but once I kind of cast that aside and let him be who he is, I appreciated his contributions to math, science, and fashion. He was trapped in an oven for three days and went bonkers and invented math. I used an oven for three minutes last week and went bonkers and nearly ruined an elegant meal.
What did Descartes doubt?
He doubted everything. Ancient philosophers are just like us. He stated that there may be an extremely malicious powerful cunning demon that has deceived us, preventing us from correct judgment and clouding our senses, so that our senses are not to be trusted. What is to be trusted, then? Can we even distinguish between dreams and reality? How elaborate of a setup is this, for us to all be dreaming this in synchrony, like an omnidirectional kaleidoscopically unfolding hivemind consciousness revealing itself to itself? Who designed this incredibly ornate video game? What is life? What is anything? Where is my dad?
How does nuclear power compare to other energy sources?
Unlike fossil fuels, nuclear does not generate greenhouse gases. So it is safer for our environment in that way, as it doesn’t murder the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. About 15% of the world's energy comes from nuclear power.
Compared to wind & solar, the safety of nuclear power is approximate. Nuclear disasters cause more shocking trauma, but more American workers have died setting up rooftop solar than starting an energy plant. Wind energy compared to solar is more effective as well; a single wind turbine could power as much as 4800 solar panels.
No form of energy is ever "truly" safe... Nuclear energy is also less expensive and comparatively more powerful. in Japan, for instance, only 50 nuclear plants power 50% of the country. While an effective power source, its achilles heel is the instability of nuclear power. Fear of nuclear bombs and the migraine of toxic waste management is also a deterrent of using nuclear energy.
Who is your favorite nuclear energy-adjacent hero?
What are some memorable moments in nuclear history?
I ad libbed this part from my iPad so sorry about the fragmented text. So slipshod, so slipknot, I always say ;(
Fukushima Daiichi – ppl didn’t like it. 50% of Japanese electricity powered by 50 plants.
J Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb, quoting the Bhagavad Gita: Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.
Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper also quotes the Tibetan Book of the Dead in Twin Peaks, talking about the Clear Light. I will do a dramatic reading of it later when I discuss Dr. Tim Leary's astrological configuration.
Reading about the nuclear events of World War II, specifically Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is so horrible, unethical, and fundamentally immoral it gives me chills.
Nazi Germany had brilliant scientists, most of them working hostage, but thankfully failed to create a weapon.
Three Mile Island 1979.
Operation Castle in Hawaii.
Last question: What is our goal here?
Nuclear researchers say that centering on a single goal is not easy by design. What exactly do they aim to accomplish via the use of nuclear energy? Full face respirators. Endure the ritual. Unrestricted, unscripted, unrehearsed, there is no playbook for these pioneers. Unprecedented cleanup. Everything inanimate is neither good nor bad on its own, it is the way it is used that determined its causal chain. Humans make meaning significant. Drugs are neither good nor bad. Ships. Boobs. Fire trucks. Crop tops. Research facilities.
Moving on to more dystopian topics, LA Weekly was gonna do an article on Nuclear but they mysteriously let go of their art editor and writers so what could have been a "moment" for us is no longer. Still waiting for Forbes to do a full feature on the Castle series.... hi there!
I am not confident that I want my progeny to experience dystopia. I fear for the future generation. Can they pull it off, a 180 turnaround in the state of the world? Are they too smart for us? What will their favorite flavor of Doritos be? Will I get to do an instagram takeover for Doritos Russia and embarrass my future children? Sending thots and poppers.
I hope one of these people or their ghost runs for president in 2020: Bjork, Frank Ocean, Descartes, Animal Collective, kaney, Kim, Kaney again, Tim Leary, Paris Hilton, Kendrick Lamar, Jesse Pinkman, Cardi B, Kurt Cobain, Rihanna, Hunter Thompson, Elon Mush obviously, Michelle Obama, Terence McKenna, Rose McGowan. I am out of the running as I have agreed to be Vice President of Mars in 2050, second in command to Ellen DeGeneres' space communism.
Let me give you some advice for 2018:
Dress for the art museum you want, not the cocaine you have.
Learn to spell. Win a spelling bee. Cast a spell if you don't win to go back in time and win. Buzz buzz, bitch.
Find pockets of silence.
If you aren't wearing an Adidas tracksuit right now, I am very disappointed in you.
Turn your devices off for a bit every day. Or a day every week.
Hide your money in a trained cockroach so that the big companies can't find it.
Meditate and irate: use techniques from the Fast and Furious franchise to turn into a Vin Diesel/David Lynch hybrid.
Go to the spa.
Always have a shaman on call.
I urge you to be kind to animals.
During the full moon this month I looked at photos of baby seals while listening to Animal Collective’s Water Curses. It was like masochism in ludicrous mode.
The primordial emotion that I get from listening to animal collective moves me to tears and washes away my eyelash extensions. I love revisiting the ayahuasca vision where animal collective carves out my third eye. You are a part of me. I can’t unlearn it. Painful uncomfortable catharsis leading to supreme clarity. Sorrow for the defenseless things. Empathy. Density of existence. The swiping of consciousness when revelation occurs. That perceptual shift. So vital and beyond lovely. Stop being so selfish and relearn altruism.
As with space castle, a percentage of the proceeds of nuclear will go to the harp seals foundation based in Canada, who act to stop violence against seals. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for human rights and activism, but at the end of the day, humans can stand up for themselves while animals are defenseless creatures. Let us be their voice. It’s important as fuck. If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you know that many species have or are in the process of being wiped the fuck out of earth. Fish, insects, reptiles, rhinos, elephants, alligators, animals who you may not think are cute or cuddly, are absolutely essential. Animals kill other animals in the natural landscape, often violently, but they operate on instinct. Us humans with our rationality and intelligence, which is questionable, should know better than to kill for sport. To poach. To club. To batter. To torture.
Valentine Enterprises donates a percentage of proceeds from each castle to HarpSeals.org, an organization that advocates against seal cruelty. The number of seals killed has gone down from 325,000 in the early 2010s to 84,000 in 2017, but that is still way too much! Spare the seals.
The only thing that really technically unites us is this planet we are living on.
I would like to conceptualize for a moment a nonphysical space that is still a reality. A primordial, eternal plane. No time, no space. A chamber beyond physical crossroads. A feckless infinite space. From this ether I shall pull….
* Tim Leary’s natal chart *
Mr. Leary was born on 10/22/1920 in Springfield, MA. I was born on 11/14/1991 in Moscow, Russia. We may seem like different people but we share some common astrological connections. Truthfully we have never been seen in the same room together so my obsession with Mr. Leary is just further narcissism.
Moon in Aquarius: observant, sociable but loners at heart, on a mission, idealistic and progressive, reckless in pursuit of goals, detached, proud, unpredictable, fight for rights and crusade for equality, complex mood swings, complex love life, sociable, eccentric, intelligent, lucid.
Jupiter in Virgo: Jupiter is the planet that governs bounty, expansion, and fortune. In Virgo, the natives achieve their place in life through hard work rather than luck. They are serious, patient, meticulous, and orderly.
Lilith ( a mathematical point between the earth and the moon, a void, an empty space) in Capricorn: yearns for the absolute, the ultimate, the eternal. Brings two serious ambitions, to material wealth and to spiritual realization. Extraordinary endurance and psychological stamina. Fight to the last breath and never give up even against opposition.
Also, I would like to bring to your attention a recipe. Leary Biscuits. It’s when you cook marijuana with peanut butter in a foil container in the oven so the butter can absorb the weed oils; take it out of the oven; remove the weed particles; spread it on a cracker or put it in between to crackers; wrap it in foil and take it to go. I did this for prom seven years ago and it was bomb.
Thank you to the friends, the sweet lovely people who for me are a continuing source of inspiration, support, and perspective.
Once again thank you MJ for these super sick photos.
Thanks to all the artists for contributing muchos besos esta bueno :*
again... plz pay artists plz
if you see something you like, venmo it
Thank you for coming to Nuclear Castle. Here ends my speech. You may find me and ask me questions after, or follow me on the internet and invade those DMs I will answer most questions besos besitos thanks thanks love you *** xx NASA Valentine
420 vibeout 24/7