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Sascha Pohflepp. Photo: Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

Sascha Pohflepp (1978–2019)

Artist and design researcher Sascha Pohflepp, whose practice probed the overlapping nodes of algorithms, business, speculative design, and biology, has died. He was forty-one years old.

Pohflepp characterized his work as centering “around questions regarding the role of technology as a force that shapes our relationship with natural systems, human culture and ultimately ourselves, embodied in the tools we create. . . . The resulting work is regarded not so much as rarified objects but rather as embodied synthetic knowledge, of the state of things or of a potential future.”

Born in 1978 in Cologne, Germany, Pohflepp studied at the Berlin University of the Arts and the Royal College of Art in London. He was based between Berlin and Southern California, where he was pursuing a Ph.D. in art practice with a specialization in anthropogeny at the University of California, San Diego.

In addition to a studio practice, Pohflepp was involved in publishing, teaching, and curatorial projects; for a recent project at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt, where he was a frequent collaborator, he experimented with an artificial life algorithm and notions of recognition for “Life Forms” (2019). His work has been exhibited at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Pioneer Works; London’s Victoria and Albert Museum; the Art Institute of Chicago; and Rotterdam’s Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum.

Pohflepp’s multimedia project Those Who, 2019, made in collaboration with Matthew Lutz and Alessia Nigretti, draws on the archive of Moscow’s State Darwin Museum to critically explore questions of evolutionary theory and artificial intelligence, and will be featured in the exhibition “The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 2030–2100,” opening June 28 at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow.

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