We are Rebellious Optimists. You can read more about what these two words mean to us here.
At a time when cities are facing questions about their future viability, we want to offer a robust, fact-based defence of why the future is metropolitan, and the many advantages of living in a social, liberal, diverse environment, full of opportunities, exchange and choices.
We create events which play with Vienna. We want to mix fun and politics, but also to say new things about our home town. Urban adventures like Vienna Ugly, Smells like WIEN Spirit and Coffeehouse Conversations are low-resource, high-impact events.
Our projects are interdisciplinary, playful, joyous, experimental, adventurous, romantic and naughty. Whoosh* is interested in exploring the boundaries - why they exist and how we can break them. These barriers in Wien are just as much psychological as social. We are progressive urbanists, curious to develop ideas in partnership with other groups across the city. We campaign, but always using humour to make serious points, building community, but also the international profile of Vienna. This fast-growing city represents a fascinating alternative to turbo-capitalism, but tells its story very poorly - since it is widely understood to be a 19th-century, waltzing chocolate cake, by visitors.
Instead we see our hometown as a successful place with a big heart, where poor people live well, and a dynamic place full of possibilities. But we recognise it also as a city which is bureaucratically-creative. We respond to this with a liberal campaigning platform, of fluid street activism.
You can approach us with a loose idea, or desire, and we will respond with an event that attracts attention and will be memorable. It can be a word (disruption, participation, social networks) or a conference theme, Klausur or upcoming party, and we will come back to you with a DJ proposal, social-dining event, media campaign or tour which reflects your theme, and entertains your audience. In this sense, we are as much consultants as curators.
We work on both sides of the Gürtel, with pensioners and students, schools and the City council, galleries, broadcasters, conferences and corporations. Eugene delivers presentations to universities, the UN, seminars and TED Talks. Our project is city storytelling. Whoosh explores the soul and identity of contemporary Vienna. We celebrate the city in all its modern complexity. Our group works across the digital, physical & political realms.
We are a collective, eager to share and develop best-practice and the new world of open-source collaboration. We think big and wild, but also about fine details, strategy and satisfying communications.
Our website is an open platform for research, a laboratory and forum for energising people into new ways of thinking. The context is important: creating a group in a crisis, and a crisis which seems to be questioning the density in cities - and doubting all those things we value like co-working spaces, public transport, cafes and lecture halls.
We come from seven different countries, but also different disciplines, classes, and parts of the city. That is our strength, in being loose and fluid - and loving Wien.
A part of our aim is to explore forgotten places, and bring fresh angles on familiar things. We are sure that there are groups like us working in other cities, it’s just that we haven’t found them yet. Please get in touch!
We look for cooperations which also push us in interesting new directions, towards fresh impulses, into new networks, partnerships (whether long-term like magdas or Mobilitätsagentur, or just for a single night). Whoosh loves the productive push-and-pull of two different groups coming together to see what that might create. That is what we seek and offer, to create new spaces for collaboration.
We value the MA 48 as working-class heroes, Würstelstände as a valuable, democratic space, but also the group of older-women-with-dogs who patrol almost every Wien street with iron discipline and deep engagement, and love the details of lived reality on the streets of Wien. If you join us on a tour, you will understand these phenomena in a new way. Public space is where we come together, and burst our social bubbles.
Whoosh is urbanism. We walk, dance, eat and research with locals. We animate public spaces to bring people together in unusual situations. We take risks - and people enjoy it. For sure, we disrupt, because we know Wien needs a bit of that!
We are a start-up (born in Oct 2020) who use interventions to make important new connections across the city. To engage people with ideas, using tools that ease interactions. By encouraging ‘social capital’, we’re more likely to recreate the rich social landscape we intuitively love. Really belonging to a city is a special feeling.
Countries build walls, while Cities build Bridges
This political culture collective celebrates diversity: Whoosh is about opening up dialogue in Vienna. We are interested in the power and potential of local communities around the city to represent themselves in the most colourful and funky way. Integration is complex and interesting; it’s older people meeting youngsters, gays sitting down to chat with straights, rich meeting poor, right with left, women meeting men. None of our events have an official end time. We want to use the energy and ideas collected to create new networks.
We hope our activities can be a forum to explore social innovation and the avant-garde along the Donau. As outsiders as well as residents, we celebrate what is great about our city. We love Fellini, spectacle and joy.
We can all make a difference, in small ways, so that life is more social. Let’s all be rebellious optimists, looking for solutions, instead of problems. Come join us in our project to remix the city. We hope to meet many of you at future Whoosh urban adventures.
It’s complex writing an about us for a group which wants to remain flexible, and to react to future events in a fast-moving world. Whatever we write here is just a moment in time, and should not be taken too seriously. If you don’t find what you want here, just call us, and see if we can create something more focused on what you are dreaming of.
Whoosh is about the space to think big, the indiscipline to cross genres. The fact that none of us are born in Vienna maybe shows, in that we are conscious of the bourgeois angst which shames so many locals into inaction.
We are activism, but at a subtle level. We play, and it makes waves.
Euge and the whoosh gang
*Whoosh is the sound of a fast river, train or big wind. It means the flow of energy and is a feeling, but also shows our aims and ideas. We are about being in a big city and its people, of ambition and joy. Eugene came close to calling his son Whoosh.