Building a community in our paradoxical society nowadays is gold. I mean a community of thinkers and heroes. People with whom you blossom along in the journey of setting your territory, shifting from stages in life where you feel either vulnerable or unbeatable. The most rewarding feeling in growing adult is to realize the privilege of sharing this cocooning process with people you are truly proud of - be them friends, family, lovers.
Recently, Agora (Mittelweg) closed its doors. This was the very first collective I encountered in Berlin and the base for the most meaningful relationships and collaborations I've developed, a network of magicians and social healers. Agora definitely shaped a good part of my path in this city, and became the evidence that the act of gathering is as essential as eating or sleeping. I mean, who are we at the end of the day, with a million followers on our virtual profiles? These and other pattern behaviours in this odd web playground are taking over very simple notions of our basic needs and it scares the crap out of me. I find myself in a mental exercise trying to redefine what is in fact essential to me in the journey of self-growth, among social standards as fulfilling as junk food.
When Agora closed its doors, I spent the following week with the feeling as if the carpet was taken off my feet, scanning the rituals and habits of the past five years, trying to give them a new home, only to realize that they can only be praised and cheered whenever we gather and inspire each other again. To set our own territory means to become aware of what we built together in a like-minded room, a space whose coordinates are constantly redefined. Yesterday, while I joined a session between friends to get to know all about TOCA - the mission which Luter, Denis and Andre have been so excited about - I saw the magic taking place again and it reminded me of all what matters.
The most inspiring thing I find about this project is that the creators of TOCA are willing to awake people's mindset on the long-term health consequences in the way we interact with our phones, based on information gathered by specialists in different fields who have made research on the side-effects when in contact with a smartphone, through think-alike summits, conferences and communities around the world. Awareness comes with education and the smartphone industries definitely played well on skipping that part of the homework.
"Lately, I had a casual talk with an 83 yo German sir on the tram station. He looked at me typing on my phone and asked what the whole point is with these smartphones nowadays. He took his phone out of his pocket - it was an old school one, with buttons. He said he figured technology grew faster in the last few years than his own brain could catch. That encounter made me question again my own awareness on how I use my phone and the health consequences I myself wonder and wish to be somehow better informed about."
TOCA is a start-up project initiated by three self-driven individuals who want to change the world. After realizing the health consequences of being in constant contact with our smartphones, they produced a sleeve that helps you have control on your phone (ah-ha?). Your phone is alive just as you are, but both operate under totally distinct systems. TOCA is basically a sleeve which cuts most of the signal from and to your phone once you put it in. It allows you to be offline whenever you want and should.
These photos were taken during TOCA Friends, a gathering organized by the team to tell the story of TOCA to friends and passersby, to open discussion on topics related to the product and its purpose. The event took place at "Cafuné", Innstraße 32.
Find more about TOCA here