I archive Harlem, South L.A. and Watts' vernacular culture: businesses, signage, tags, mix CDs, menus, incense, flyers. Recordings become fragments of travel journaling that lose their formal meanings and connotations and are transformed by my aspirations and dreams of and for their respective communities. Although my subjects depict reality, depictions are driven by my desires for the environment–thus, they are not accurate portrayals of a city block. Once in my possession, the archive becomes content for utopic fantasies of Harlem and Los Angeles. I become pharaoh, the master architect and kingdom planner of new fantasyscapes forming mystical pseudo histories and remixing the neighborhoods with nature, metallics and outer space as a means to empower neighborhoods and energize for a new tomorrow. In my work, the neighborhoods transcend pessimism and baggage held by outsiders and insiders. This illustrates my interests in appropriating fabricated histories, materials, local businesses, space and reflecting my subjects back to the community in the form of reliefs and sculptural environments.
Lauren Halsey was born in Los Angeles, California in 1987. She holds an MFA from Yale University (2014) and a BFA from California Institute of the Arts (2012). Halsey is currently an Artist in Residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem (2014-2015). She creates works inspired by neighborhoods in Los Angeles and Harlem with materials ranging from crystals and cardboard to, metallics and gypsum.