McElheny and Mies in Cabinet

Mies van der Rohe, “Glass Skyscraper Project” (1922). Courtesy Cabinet Magazine.

In the current “Underground” issue of Cabinet magazine, Josiah McElheny (Season 3) contributes an essay titled Nowhere, Everywhere, Somewhere.  The paper investigates a series of photographs and mock-ups depicting an unrealized Mies van der Rohe project from 1922, the Glass Skyscraper. McElheny charts a form of modernism in which “the architectural past and nature were acknowledged… a modernism that is not everywhere, only somewhere.” The photographs supposedly depict a model of “accommodation” whereby co-existence and symbiosis are keys to a happy world, which sounds a lot like the present utopic globalism?

Among many other worthwhile reads in the issue is Through the Left Eye, Paul La Farge’s essay on Cao Dai, a Vietnamese universal religion invented during the French colonialism days of Indochine that counts within its cannon of saints Joan of Arc and Victor Hugo.  Each divulges such things as religious guidelines and masonic chemical formulas through séance and the medium of “table-turning.” What would Mies say?