Now these I named derive their origin from other living forms. There is one bird which reproduces and renews itself: the Assyrians gave this bird his name—the Phoenix. He does not live either on grain or herbs, but only on small drops of frankincense and juices of amomum. When this bird completes a full five centuries of life straightway with talons and with shining beak he builds a nest among palm branches, where they join to form the palm tree’s waving top. As soon as he has strewn in this new nest the cassia bark and ears of sweet spikenard, and some bruised cinnamon with yellow myrrh, he lies down on it and refuses life among those dreamful odors.—And they say that from the body of the dying bird is reproduced a little Phoenix which is destined to live just as many years. When time has given to him sufficient strength and he is able to sustain the weight, he lifts the nest up from the lofty tree and dutifully carries from that place his cradle and the parent’s sepulchre. As soon as he has reached through yielding air the city of Hyperion, he will lay the burden just before the sacred doors within the temple of Hyperion.
Architecture has to have a metaphor, it has to have a story, a meaning.
The past is just stories we tell ourselves.
This City (I thought) is so horrible that its mere existence and perdurance, though in the midst of a secret, contaminates the past and future and in some way even jeopardizes the stars.
So this story will not finish with some tomb to be visited in pious memory. For the smoke that rises from crematoria obeys physical laws like any other: the particles come together and disperse according to the wind, which propels them. The only pilgrimage, dear reader, would be to look sadly at a stormy sky now and then.
Architecture has become sort of an exotic fruit. It just sort of happens in certain places where it gets watered. The more it becomes a special thing, the less chance we have to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. What architecture is and how it fits into the community is a story I want to tell…. If we can deal with the common ground [in] the profession then maybe we can deal better with common ground between all professions.
The amount of information available to us has expanded almost infinitely…. The organization of disparate pieces into a coherent narrative is one of the crucial distinctions between twentieth- and twenty-first century assemblage. Although like their predecessors they are amalgams of discrete objects, the structure of the sculptures of the twenty-first century resemble not a newspaper, but a McSweeny’s magazine, with its individual stories and articles printed in multiple typefaces and interrupted with footnotes, rhetorical inserts and illustrations.
— Laura Hoptman, “Going to Pieces in the 21st Century” from Unmonumental, 2007
According to Roti’s own statement, Allegory does in fact have a very precise and unambiguous meaning for him personally: fishes represent humanity, the key represents the ability to stop time, and the moon represents uncontrollable forces of nature. For the artist, there is a neat one-to-one correspondence between images in the mural and their meanings in the real world. But the glossary needed for that translation exists in the artist’s head, not in any commonly understood, generally available mythos. That’s when audiences create their own meanings. In the privacy of a gallery or the controlled context of academic settings, this act is almost always benign. Many artists even cherish the ways in which audiences help them create meaning. But when the work is placed in a broader public space, those meanings occasionally get out of control.