Tommi Space

Rethinking my digital space

My past year has been unprecedentedly full of novel opportunities, experiences, life accomplishments. Going back further, during the past few years I reckon I changed a lot. To boil it down to a single word, I would dare to say that I have matured.

One of the many expressions of such a change, perhaps the most glaring, is the fact that I have basically stopped writing on this website.

Over time, degenerated from a joyful and original way of being online to the main symptom of a mad quest for digital liberation, generating anxiety and stress. It may seem exaggerated (because it is), but mutated into a haunting thought of a digital space I had to maintain, becoming the gatekeeper of my ability to enjoy things. Most of the time, I would not be able to have a good time in real life because of a bug I could not fix in the digital domain. Instead of being an empowerment of my whimsical and funny endeavors and thoughts, my relationship with technology turned into an overbearing, omnipresent thought that I dragged through my daily life. Paradoxically, most of the time I have been working on I was by meddling with its technical infrastructure, going down the rabbit hole of tiny and silly technicalities, rather than producing content.[1] The less I wrote articles or shared thoughts, the greater the burden of restarting to do so. I kept repeating myself that I needed to find a proper and final digital solution, then I could finally be free to have a seamless way to publish things. I have always known that a final solution would never exist, and that it was all about changing my perspective. Yet, I did not know how to break the virtual harnesses keeping me from seeing things more serenely.

During the past few months, as I broke some life milestones such as graduating, resigning from the presidency of Scambi Festival, moving abroad to get a job, I kept wondering how to find a solution to this toxic feeling spoiling my life. I just moved to Berlin, where I am beginning a new chapter of my life by starting an internship at the Free Software Foundation Europe. Now more than ever l feel like I really need to wrap my head around this, so that I can start fresh, cleansed from all of my dumb fictitious nerdy worries.

All the pieces got together a few days ago, , while doing the Alternative Berlin walking tour, guided by the very fun and inspiring Dara Gilroy. As we walked by some great Berlinese street art, a spark fired up in my mind. I cannot remember what it was, it was a matter of milliseconds. Besides, I had the dumb idea to drink a cappuccino before the tour and drink a beer during a pause. I was both caffeinated and tipsy at the same time. Daniela, my lovely friend who I was so happy to meet again here in Berlin, had to bear yet another episode of Tommi getting crazy about complex, mysteriously cryptic nerdy things. I took my phone out of my pocket and started recording a frantic audio with impulsive thoughts and ideas.

Photo of Daniela winking at the camera while mounting on a staircase full of stickers. On the wall, a sign says “No photo or video shootings on the staircase” (ooops)
Daniela in a staircase full of stickers in a building I cannot remember the name of

The insane combo of caffeine, alcohol, cultural input, new life vibes made me rethink my mental space, rethink this space, or rethinking[2]

Popping the bubble

My most important resolution, and the one that leads to all the others, is to turn my approach to technology upside down. So far, I have only dedicated myself to software challenges when they were specifically related to my very niche needs and use cases, starting from my individual perspective. Fueling my curiosity solely with the need to fix the things I needed, trapped in a solipsistic relationship with technology, made it degenerate into silly stress weighting on me and me alone.

To change this, I need to pop the bubble, and stop facing tech challenges by myself, for myself: I need to embrace a collective approach to technology.

Up to now, I have never had the opportunity to have a space where to share my nerd thoughts and absorb knowledge, let alone tinker with tools or experiment ideas. I developed my interest in Computer Sciences on my own, and I realized the loneliness of it very late. Even though the Internet has this great power to create virtual communities, I find it unsettling when a whole part of a person’s life and thoughts are in the digital realm.

Upon moving to Berlin, I finally had the chance to explore a world—actually, an entire universe—I have been wanting to dive into for a long, long time: hackerspaces! I decided that my way of the diverse, unique, and alternative soul of Berlin would be to hang out at hackerspaces. I started from the cozy and friendly xHain.

Spending time at xHain made me realize how valuable and game-changing it is to spend time with people—on any topic. I decided that is my digital space revolution would focus on.

Self, not Ego

Lately, I’ve had many thoughts on Anarchism and anarchist practice. At a recent Introduction to Anarchism session I attended at AntiUniversity 2023 in London, I was taken aback when I shared my personal definition of Anarchist practice, which I now commit to as my most fundamental value.

Many believe that in an anarchist society represses personal preferences and desires are suppressed, annihilating the individual within the societal context. However, I believe this claim to be highly inaccurate. In fact, both modern communism and anarchism place significant value on the identities of the individuals composing a society. The main contrast with our capitalistic society is the removal of egoistic and spiteful impulses that fuel an individual’s ego, thereby leaving room for the authentic flourishing of the self within the community, not in spite of it.


My self-portrait

What does this have to do with my digital space?

One of the causes of the degeneration of this website is my conceiving it as a painstaking and detailed log of my life. A blog. Literally, the term blog derives from weblog, therefore a virtual space where to keep track of anything and everything, all of the time—a quote from Welcome to the Internet, part of the soundtrack of Bo Burnham: Inside (2021). It’s a bit of a stretch, but I would argue that a personal blog is the weblog of the ego of a person.

Nevertheless, since the beginning I have always defined as the virtual representation of Tommi’s mind. Therefore, I would see a virtual representation of something as a digital portrait of such a thing. needs to stop being a place crammed with unfinished meaningless things aimed at collecting a lot of data without a true purpose. Instead, it has to be a beautiful digital painting, my digital self-portrait. As such, I need to publish things on it with the primary purpose of enjoying to share what I create, not to collect and store egocentric data!

Version 2

Conventionally, the evolution of software is tracked by its versions. Basically, when problems are solved or improvements are introduced, the version number increases.

The whole point of rethinking is about shifting the focus away from its technical aspects and highlighting the beautiful messy digital portrait it is designed to be. Therefore, this post marks the launch of version 2.

Still, I managed to gift this new version with a few minor technical changes, which I tackled in the development log.

An actual, perpetual work-in-progress

Instead of just looking and being presented as a perpetual work-in-progress, will gradually be restructured, so that incomplete and unorganized things are natural and do not necessarily feel as out of place. Furthermore, I am setting my mindset to “whatever goes” mode: I do not need to be stressed if the virtual representation of my mind is chaotic and messed up. After all, chaos is my middle name.

  1. I hate the term “content” because of how it is used in capitalistic consumerist terms, but it is the best term I could think about to express this idea. ↩︎

  2. Although it’s so much fun to narrate and romanticize this as if it was an epic, unique, life-changing thunderstruck movie-like moment, that instance was merely the highest point of many months of reasoning, reflecting, and therapy sessions. I abstain from reciting life experiences based on the standalone incident that “changed my life”. ↩︎