2019-10-02

ASAP

This year, Germany celebrates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. But instead of a large community feeling, an increasing individualization of society can be observed. With the beginning of the "school* strikes for climate" in August 2018 though, the base of a collective sense of togetherness can be sensed again in the country. A movement that has found followers and support worldwide across the bounds of nationality, gender, ethnicity, religion, and age. The global school strike, initiated by one sixteen-year-old schoolgirl from Stockholm, is currently rocking world politics and thus acting as a catalyst for a long overdue debate on global climate policy. It brings up a painful subject and it’s about  defining goals, making decisions, and radically changing course. The clock is ticking. Time is against us. Planet Earth and its inhabitants are about to eradicate themselves.

The motto of the 14th re:publica Berlin 2020 is: ASAP (as soon as possible).

On three days in May 2020 we will address the real and felt urgency of our current global and digital society.

  • ASAP means: not tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or in a year, but NOW - and as quickly as possible!
  • ASAP symbolizes: a spirit of optimism, action and movement
  • ASAP must: exert pressure, generate stress, be uncomfortable
  • ASAP stands for: urgency, impatience, and power
  • ASAP promotes: imprecision, addiction, and social acceleration
  • ASAP means: immediacy, satisfaction, and convenience
  • ASAP should: engage, mobilize, and shake up
  • ASAP is: as soon as possible!

When is ASAP?
With an even greater urgency than usual #rp20 will highlight issues relating to sustainable digital infrastructure as a human right, which in today's world is a prerequisite for social participation. We question prolonged processes in terms of resource efficiency and renewable alternative energies. We focus on the most important social, economic, and ecological issues that are increasingly endangering a free and peaceful society. We seek dialogues on issues of global climate change, migration policy, nationalism, and racism, and discuss the parameters decisive to socio-political turbulence and economic dynamics. Politicians are always assuring us that what is necessary will be implemented as quickly as possible, but this is not fast enough for us! We are wasting valuable time with a long-winded, circular debate culture! What is needed now is the courage to make decisions! ASAP!  

But what effects does the immediacy of ASAP have on interaction and collaboration in the everyday? We expose ourselves to different moods and reactions in a variety of contexts. While an instant private digital response from someone in your message can trigger high dopamine levels and an online order delivered within two hours can provide short-term satisfaction, ASAP can quickly create high levels of pressure in a professional context. Used in the workplace, the acronym often mutates into a phrase that either demonstrates power and causes stress, or shows obedience and thus (supposedly) demonstrates performance. ASAP too often degenerates into a threatening and misguided mantra by which urgency negates the goal. The dialectic between speed and quality is the primary issue here: ASAP is not always the best decision when seeking carefully thought-out solutions.

However, ASAP is often not ASAP enough when time, as the most precious commodity and most valuable resource, runs against current developments. Digitalization has made the world a much more comfortable place but the increasing speed of digitalization is also causing societal problems. Especially, in areas where it is required but not implemented. And where it leads to imprecision due to lack of time. Through the constant use of new technologies, which at first seem to be economical in terms of resources and provide flexibility, we adapt to the dynamics and perform in continuous production at ever shorter intervals. More than ever, we live in the now and often do not think about the consequences for ourselves, our data, our environment, and the generations to come.

With you, we want to dive into an utopic exchange of ideas smarter together: What dangers and new responsibilities arise for each individual and for our (digital) society?  

How do we want to live?
We want to investigate how we want to live, work, research, and love in the future. Seeing an increasing disenchantment with democracy, we like to ask you and ourselves the question: How do we want to be governed in the future? What forms of communication are needed and how can a society guard against disaffection? We critically question whether and when we have forgotten to listen to each other, to trust each other, and to be there for each other. Let’s shed light on the space-time continuum together! Sometimes ASAP means "at a speed overtaking oneself" and sometimes it signifies unbearable to infinite slowness. We ask: How do you experience time and who decides this?

Join us in talking about how one can preserve spaces for deceleration in an "ASAP society", how to live together attentively, and what mechanisms can protect us from stress and speed mania.  

Where do we start?         
The 14th re:publica Berlin will be shaped by people who spread a sense of optimism and by those for whom current developments are not fast enough. People who present thoughtful solutions and encourage dialogue. But also by those who advocate a new, conscious deceleration of our world. #rp20 aims to involve people to discuss what motivates us to act better, and to find out what needs to be done in order to develop concrete measures. Together with you, we want to discuss civil social responsibility and speed up the process of shaping the future.

At #rp20 we will explore the "doable", highlight good ideas, and expose empty phrases: Who determines how fast "soon" and what "possible" is?

Join us! It's time!

ASAP. #rp20

* You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words [...]. People are suffering, people are dying, eternal ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and the fairytale of eternal economic growth. How dare are you? [...] How dare are you continue to look away and come here and saying that you are doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight. You say that you hear us and understand the urgency, but no matter how sad and angry I am, I don't want to believe that. [...] Right here, right now is there we draw the line. The world is awakening up and a change is coming, whether you like it or not.

Greta Thunberg, Excerpt from the speech at the UN Climate Summit, September 24th