Estimated reading time: 2 minutes —
LONDON, 18 September — Sascha Pohflepp is rewriting history. Or rethinking history. Or writing counterfactual history. “Facts” often get in the way of uncovering deeper “truth,” and Pohflepp is using his own imaginings of recent history to give us new insights and perspectives on the world we live in and how we got here.
Pohflepp has reconsidered the American election of 1980 where Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter’s bid for a second term. He notes that Carter put solar panels on the roof of the White House… Reagan took them off… Carter was about alternative energy… Reagan was all about oil…
Pohflepp’s video deftly interweaves the ideology of an alternate cultural narrative with the aesthetics of our lived cultural narrative. A little bit like Cindy Sherman’s “film stills” that reference no specific cinema moment, yet feel so archetypically familiar, Pohfelpp’s video is about a world that never was, yet is couched with iconography and design aesthetics we remember so well from childhood that we strangely, unexpectedly, effortlessly find ourselves slipping into this alternate river of time.
So Pohflepp considers an alternate history… one where Carter wins the election and pursues an aggressive energy research policy. Under Reagan the Department of Energy that Carter had created had it’s budget cut by 90%, but in a second Carter Administration, might The Golden Institute in Golden Colorado have achieved a Rand Corporation-like dominance in the economic and cultural landscape?
It’s a wonderful video of Golden Institute senior strategist Douglas “Doug” Arnd describing some of the diverse, idiosyncratic projects developed at the institute.
One of the impulses that pushed Pohflepp along this path was looking at 100 mid-twentieth-century predictions by the Rand Think Tank about things that would come to pass by the year 2000. He found that many actually had come to pass… many others were “somewhat”… and that many were not even close. He posited that if so many of these imaginings, if so many of these guesses about the future could be right… and so many wrong… might not the difference of a budget line item from Reagan to Carter cause one of the “true” predictions to fail and one of the “failed” predictions to come to pass?
R E L A T E D . M A T E R I A L S
• Flickr Images of models & props Pohflepp’s built for his “reality”