Megan Montgomery is a composite character comprised of Anne Montgomery and Megan Rice, both of them are Catholic nuns who broke into high security nuclear processing facilities in the US as a protest against the use of nuclear weapons. Both of them, on entering the nuclear facilities, were already senior nuns of mature age. Megan Rice was eighty-three years old when she broke into the facility in the last instance.
Megan Montgomery In Conversation with Lewis Oppenheimer is a thirteen-minute long video in which two actors are engaged in a conversation. The work concerns the issues surrounding nuclear energy and political action, highlighting transgressions of gender, ethnicity and age through the use of a prosthetic make-up. Perpetual nuclearity and the threat of radioactive contamination produce unstable subjects and individuals who strategically move across variant subjectivities in order to voice their views.
The large part of the fictional conversation is a re-enactment of an edited transcript of an interview Anne Montgomery published in 1984. Additionally, a brief reference is made to Alain Resnais’ film Hiroshima Mon Amour. The conversation provides a detailed account of Montgomery’s involvement in highly political prayer groups as well as documentary accounts of her trespassing into nuclear facilities. The interviewer, Lewis Oppenheimer, is constructed as a younger brother of Robert Oppenheimer who led the Manhattan Project, the project which culminated in dropping the atomic bomb in Hiroshima in 1945. Subsequently the project changed its name to the Human Genome Project in which the constellation of human genes was decoded.
By intervening into the past and confusing fact and fiction, as much as illuminating the two nuns’ political actions, the work re-evaluates the complexity of speech and action in the context of nuclearity.
Atsuhide Ito, 2015
Megan Montgomery in Conversation with Lewis Montgomery, 2015, Video, 13 mintues.
Atsuhide Ito: Megan Montgomery
Chris Sav: Lewis Oppenheimer
Jennifer Nelson: Prosthetics and Make-up
Levin Haegele: Camera and Editing