The Dwelling Archive is the cumulative record and collected physical works produced in relation to the project Dwelling 1997- ongoing by the artist Charles LaBelle.
The Archive is composed of two distinct elements: drawings of individual buildings presented in Albums and the text-based List of all the buildings. Each Album includes a number of drawings, usually between 80 and 800, which highlight one specific aspect of the Archive such as a single place, a span of time or a particular theme. The List is where each building, its name, its geographic location (street, city, country), and the date and time the building was entered by the artist is recorded
Both the original drawings and the list are occasionally presented publicly in exhibitions. Further, each album of drawings and the list are reproduced and made available in book form.
Possessing the quality of something unearthed, the Archive can be seen, perhaps, as a ‘lost’ diary whose overall story is left mostly to the imagination. But more significantly, it is a historical document in which the built environment of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries is preserved.
The Dwelling Archive demarcates the boundaries (often nebulous) where the peregrinations of one human life and the world intersect. By foregrounding the act of looking at – and then entering – each of these buildings, the Archive reveals a broader, phenomenological framework: one that examines the relationship between architecture and the body and between the construction of space and the construction of the subject as these relationships are colored by attention, desire, loss, memory, movement, consciousness, corporeality, duration, proximity, perception, power, the fatuous missteps of everyday life and the struggle for the dubious thing called ‘freedom.’
Thus “dwelling” is evoked in both aspects of its meaning: as a place of habitation and an act of contemplation.