The Power of Unlugging: The Wider Discussion at re:publica and beyond


At OFFTIME, we strive to promote active discourse on how we want to live and work in this hyperconnected world. Wherever we go, we bring the discussion with us, and re:publica 14 was no exception. We got people thinking and talking about information overload, the benefits of unplugging, and their on/off-line balance using different mediums. Here’s how:

In our RE/CONNECT space– an interactive installation- visitors could actively engage with the issues. They produced insightful and quirky statements about their stance on the apparent dichotomy of on/off-line living, and how they’d ideally spend time away from the internet and mobile technology (check out some of the statements here and in the video below).


Humboldt University’s Prof. Dr. Annekatrin Hoppe speaking at OFFTIME Preview’s launch event

At OFFTIME Preview’s launch event, Prof. Dr. Annekatrin Hoppe, from the Institute of Psychology at Humboldt University Berlin, talked about the psychological and social effects of constant connectivity. She went on  to speak about the promising results of the ongoing  research and evaluation done by the Humboldt University.

At the event, we spoke with visitors on a one-to-one basis as well as talking to the media that were present. Co-founder Michael Dettbarn, pictured top, spoke to RBB’s Agnes Taegner about ways of mediating your connectivity, and unplugging a little from mobile technology.

To stimulate the discussion further, we put up large thought-provoking statements near the entrance to the main hall of re:publica, where everyone could see. Statements such as ‘Social Media is the New Junk Food’ were snapped and shared on social media by the passing crowds. The link between information and nutrition generated a lot of discussion – are the social media elite now restaurant owners? If so, what kind of restaurants do they own? What cuisine are they serving up, and for what purpose?

Alex main stage
Co-founder Alexander Steinhart talking about becoming conscious of our digital consumption and tech that supports us on the main stage at re:publica 14

We also took the conversation outside of the RE/CONNECT space too. In collaboration with the Amish Futurist a.k.a  Alexa Clay , our very own Alexander Steinhart participated in a performance and panel discussion on the main stage at re:publica (you can check out the video here).

During the run-in to re:publica, we compiled a list of questions and set them loose on Twitter and other social networks, connecting our local actions with the global discourse. This enabled those who couldn’t be with us at re:publica to get involved and engaged in the discussion too by using the hashtags #unplug, #techfear, and #reconnect.



Feel free to get involved yourself, by promoting this post and/or answering the questions below:

  • What’s your biggest technology fear?
  • Could we ever be as conscientious about tech as we are about nutrition?
  • Do you want your smartphone to gatecrash the best moments of your life?
  • How do you manage hyper-connectivity?
  • If you were a robot, what kind of robot would you be?

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