Two weeks ago, I found out Sascha Pohflepp died and I haven’t recovered from the shock. He was a gentleman and extraordinary practitioner. I first met him in Japan in 2007 and he continued to inspire me through his writings and projects. His death feels unreal, as he was always present and engaged, where ever he was. He was highly influential among my community of artists, designers and creative engineers. Many colleagues and friends wrote about how charming and brilliant he was. He stayed in my apartment for some time while visiting New York a few years ago. He biked everywhere in any weather. He showed up to all the parties and made friends instantly. He was fearlessly academic in the best possible way. I will remember him as a scholar of many futures. I think of his work as poetic speculations, a wildly inventive approach to illustrate and communicate the possible futures. Sascha was intellectually generous, often working with many collaborators from various fields as well as a few long term creative partners. Together, they fluidly shaped the future we may want to live in.
Writer Geoff Manaugh describes the complex beauty of Sascha’s work eloquently. “Sascha’s work was animated by such a good-natured inquisitiveness and sense of intellectual freedom, a grinning need to ask more questions about the objects, systems, and things before him — what they could be, what they should be, what they would be with the right amount of effort — that you could actually see it in his bearing, his near-constant smile, and a kind of amused sense that he didn’t quite believe what you were saying.” from BLDGBLOG.
Sascha’s writings are elegant and engaging. From The 10,000 Year Garden he wrote “ We don’t know what the first gardeners believed in, yet the genetic information they helped create is still with us. Visit a grocery store, pick up an ear of corn and you will be touching its material expression. It appears as if embracing such a view could make us — that is our level of evolved consciousness — more resilient, by demonstrating both the power and potential, but also the thin ice which we are advancing on towards the age to follow the Anthropocene, be it in another ten millennia or much further off.”
His projects often had a sense of criticality with a mix of romantic melancholy and informed optimism. For one of his last project Declimatize in collaboration with his long term creative partner Chris Woebken, they wrote “Set in the public Parque Urbano de Ponta Delgada, Declimatize was created as a long-term installation that provides an ecological interface to a number of species likely to thrive in the local conditions described by the simulation for the year 2100. As it approaches, the installation is bound to gradually become reality while at the same time turning into a ruin of the simulation’s inevitable mispredictions, visitable just like São Miguel’s eighteenth century botanical gardens today.”
What does it mean for us to write for someone who won’t be able to read our writing? It’s writing, not to be read but, to remember. I hope other friends get to know Sascha and his work, as they’ve made a big impact on my life and art. I value my friends and their work. I hope you get to know them through their work. More of Sascha’s writings.
My sincere condolences to his families, friends, loved ones.
Image credit: Declimatize
Long-term botanical installation, 5m x 5m
In collaboration with Chris Woebken