David Thomson in Tracie Morris, Afrofuturistic at The Kitchen, May 15-May 24, 2003. Video still from performance recording.

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

Archival Gestures

On View: September 25-September 30, 2023


Throughout the 2022–2023 The Kitchen L.A.B. Research Residency, primary researcher Lillian-Yvonne Bertram has been developing two new prototypes of technologies that uncover the labor embedded in archival research and offer alternative approaches to interpreting archival ephemera.

One of these prototypes will arrange selected material from The Kitchen’s audio-visual archives by gesture: Bertram has commissioned the design of a custom web app that detects when a user has matched a given pose. The app will then play the corresponding video from The Kitchen’s archive associated with each pose. The second technology intervenes on The Kitchen’s archive of promotional material with speculative language. The artist has commissioned research into the development or sourcing of a code that will fine-tune a neural network to generate press releases for imagined performances, based on their study of existing press releases within the archives.

Together, these technologies underscore the fickle, ever-changing, and sometimes unreliable relationship between archival documentation and lived experience. Documentation of early tests of these prototypes will be shared publicly in September 2023.

This project is part of This project is part of The Kitchen L.A.B. Research Residency x Simons Foundation x School for Poetic Computation.


Lillian-Yvonne Bertram and Jessica Hagedorn In Conversation

Live Broadcast from Montez Press Radio (46 Canal Street, New York, NY 10014)

September 25, 7pm EDT

Free with RSVP

The Kitchen L.A.B. Research Residency Primary Researcher Lillian-Yvonne Bertram joins artist Jessica Hagedorn for a conversation about how artists use—or talk about using—technology in performance. Centering on the performance Class at The Kitchen in 2000 by the interdisciplinary trio Thought Music (Robbie McCauley, Laurie Carlos, and Hagedorn)—which was detailed in The Kitchen's press release as a piece in which the characters "use video and computers to exchange dialogue, gossips and poetry"— Bertram and Hagedorn discuss the extent to which such descriptions align with the nature of the performance and the reasons discrepancies might exist between language and reality.

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram and Jessica Hagedorn in Conversation


Lillian-Yvonne Bertram (they/them) is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection Negative Money (Soft Skull, 2023) and the poetry collection Travesty Generator (Noemi Press, 2019), winner of the 2018 Noemi Press Poetry Prize and finalist for the National Poetry Series. Travesty Generator received the 2020 Poetry Society of America Anna Rabinowitz Prize for interdisciplinary and venturesome work. Bertram is also the author of Personal Science (Tupelo Press, 2017); a slice from the cake made of air (Red Hen Press 2016); and But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise (Red Hen Press, 2012), chosen by Claudia Rankine as the winner of the 2010 Benjamin Saltman Award. Bertram’s other publications include the chapbook cutthroat glamours (Phantom Books, 2012), the artist book Grand Dessein (commissioned by Container Press), and Tierra Fisurada, a Spanish poetry chapbook published in Argentina (Editoriales del Duende, 2002). They collaborated with the artist Laylah Ali for the exhibition booklet of her 2017 art show The Acephalous Series. Bertram’s honors include a 2017 Harvard University Woodberry Poetry Room Creative Grant; a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship; finalist nomination for the 2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship; and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Cave Canem, and others. Bertram holds a Ph.D. in Literature & Creative Writing from the the University of Utah, along with degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


The Kitchen L.A.B. Research Residency is generously supported by the Simons Foundation, whose mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. The Foundation’s Science, Society and Culture division seeks to provide opportunities for people to forge a connection to science—whether for the first time or a lifetime. Through their initiatives, they work to inspire a feeling of awe and wonder, foster connections between people and science, and support environments that provide a sense of belonging.

The Kitchen’s programs are made possible through generous support from annual grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Simons Foundation, Ruth Foundation for the Arts, and Teiger Foundation; and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.