Post-dated Realities

Abstract:

By contributing to the myth-making process of modern cities, architects can design an allegorical space for their own practice while engaging the development of the culture they practice in. The success of allegory as a cultural underlay is in its capacity to embed individuality, innovation, and improvisation around a core of meaning and value. This is the space that binds a culture while letting it blossom.

For ancient cultures, the consistency of metaphor in allegorical communication transformed situations into mythological stories that carried both their historical context and a space of demonstrative meaning. As cultures moved from pastoral and agrarian to increasingly mechanized and diverse urban lifestyles, the relatively uniform understanding of myths which came from immersion in a homogeneous society disappeared.

Allegories of the 20th century, dystopian texts in particular, explored metaphor in a decreasingly symbol laden society devoid of a common cultural authority. The didactic clarity that came from the transparent exaggeration and illustrative presentation of contemporary issues allowed the active space of dystopian texts to be engaged by a more heterogeneous population.

The diverse factions that exist within modern society have the capability to contribute to and broaden the scope of canonized myths. Although allegory exists textually, its tenets operate on physical realms, from the learned symbolism of the city to the codes of interpersonal relationships. A dystopic myth, drafted as an allegorical charter for a collaborative architectural practice, serves to both allow the relationship to exist in the space of interpretive meaning, and to function improvisationally around a set of core values that parallel and eventually contribute to the contemporary mythology of the city. If new modern myths affect life within the city, should not the people that build the cities augment that myth-making?



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Critical Response:

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