Lauren Wells is interested in the rituals of producing and presenting food culture as a conduit for community dynamics, against which she projects her own sense of uprootedness, displacement and transition as she follows the opportunities of her life as an artist.
Her participative and performative processes create shared space and time which enable her to meet people and explore how, within new experiences, memories are created, stored, re-activated and brought present again.
Exploring the use of indigenous and cultivated foods as representations of cultural backgrounds and concepts of identity and home, Wells hosts sumptuous dinners, organises food forages and invites guests to show off their produce as ways for them all to share stories of their past experiences and the symbols and acts that they choose to represent themselves. Whether searching for ignored harvests in long-forgotten plantations on once-cultivated land, or exchanging tips on crop-rotation in tenderly cared-for back gardens, Wells creates opportunities for herself and others to reflect on ideas of home, displacement, migration, diaspora, loss, representation, nostalgia and membership.
From this sharing of dialogue and exchange, Wells subsequently projects a partly fictitious, intimate personal voice to create publications, video works and live performances; using a version of her persona as displaced traveller and co-participant, she fabricates a semi-fictitious voice into her works, creating reinterpretations which reveal the differences and commonalities within the cross-cultural exchanges.
In 2015, 2016 and 2017 Wells undertook Cultural Documents residencies in Filignano, a community located in the mountains of central Italy, where she invited small groups of people to her events. Today, after one hundred and fifty years of continuous migration and dense bombardment by occupying German and Allied armies during the WWII, Filignano is home to less than 30% of its population of 100 years ago. Wells defines Filignano as ‘a paradoxically complex, multi-national rural village which will imminently succumb to the victory of nature over human endeavor’.
Informed by her participative and performative processes in Molise, Wells is currently writing, editing and making a new series of publications, prints, spoken word and/or video works for exhibition.