Introducing… Léllé Demertzi
We’ve asked each member of the Living with Machines team to introduce themselves in their initial blog post.
What’s your name?
What’s your background?
My academic background is in architecture, art history and practice. I am an artist and cultural producer with professional experience in the GLAM sector and international cultural institutions (including MoMA, documenta, the Athens and Berlin Biennales etc). I have presented my work (mostly ephemeral media -performance, video, installation) in solo and group exhibitions in Athens, Berlin, Zurich and Luzern, Salzburg, Accra, and New York. I recently curated my first group show with a cohort of 12 international artists in Athens: In(de)finite Selfhoods.
In one sentence, what is your role on the project?
I joined ‘Living with Machines’ as a Project Administrator: my main responsibility is to facilitate and catalyse the research by developing and managing workflow and teamwork structures.
What excites you about the project?
It’s my passion and personal mission to unearth and amplify untold histories. To draw the attention to peripheral discourses, or even dissents. To give voice to latent historical narratives outside the dominant canon, which enrich and expand our understandings of both past and present. ‘Living with Machines’ harnesses the innovative powers of big data to revisit the histories of the long 19th century (c.1780-1918), in an attempt not only to delve into the beginnings of our relation to the ‘machine’, but also to decipher present-day’s realms, including among others, sustainability, mobility, production and societal structures.
Another parameter that keeps me on my toes is the opportunity to collaborate with such a multi-/trans-/anti-disciplinary team with diverse knowledge, specialties, and backgrounds. For me, Living with Machines sets the example for innovative radical collaboration, where different disciplines such as data science and the humanities come together to address important historical and contemporaneous topics.
What challenges do you see ahead?
Working at this scale, bridging research fields, and developing new methodologies in the intersection of disciplines are undoubtedly ambitious trajectories. I think the greatest challenge right now is to not take for granted the model of collaboration, as well as the impact that ‘Living with Machines’ is proposing. Without awareness and thoughtful planning, such initiatives tend to have the allure of shooting stars, as exemplary yet isolated research projects. How can we envision building on the LWM outcomes and lessons towards the future of research in the digital humanities?
What’s the last (non-work) book you read, exhibition or performance you saw?
Recently I revisited a compilation of essays, lectures and poems by Audre Lorde: Your Silence Will Not Protect you. I hold this book dear and I felt I needed to tap back into the wisdom of intersectional feminist practice.
As for performance, I should pick the concert of Theaster Gates and The Black Monks at the Serpentine Pavilion. A meditative and elevating combination of jazz, blues and spoken word. Visceral and transcendent, a forcefield of resonance. I am still grooving!