Photography Laura Schaeffer

seven creatives discuss vienna, the 'world's most liveable city'

Making Vienna whirl again.

by Juule Kay
|
13 June 2019, 11:18pm

Photography Laura Schaeffer

This article originally appeared on i-D Germany

Nothing ever happens in Vienna. Or at least, that's what the citizens of the Austrian capital hear all too often – and unfairly so. In actual fact, Vienna is home to some of the best museums in the world including the Mumok, the Life Ball (a favourite with drag queens and club kids like Sussi) and the Hyperreality Festival that places women centre stage. Then there's Christoph Rumpf, the winner of this year's Hyères winner, who just so happens to live in the city that has been ranked the world's most liveable ten times so far.

But what exactly makes Vienna so attractive? We asked seven local creatives for insider tips so that on your next trip to Austria you can show off with a fun fact or two.

mafia mashi by laura schaeffer vienna
Photography: Laura Schaeffer

maša stanić, 24, photographer

How would you describe your photos to someone that has never seen them before?
Impulsive and spontaneous. For me, my pictures somehow don’t have a tomorrow.

Is social media a curse or a blessing?
Both. You are constantly confronted with a high, everything is so over the top and sensationalised -- but you always have to be connected. Even when you are alone, you tend to spend time on social media and interact with other people. On the one hand, social media has given me a lot of exposure, on the other it brings out so much bullshit and strange behaviour in people. People only rate each other based on Instagram names and follower numbers. It’s a big problem.

Have you got any tips for daily social media users?
People always think that I’m just glued to my phone all day, but I don’t do that. I see something, post it and then I put my phone away. I think you should limit yourself and never forget that social media is not reality. You can make it your hobby, but don’t overdo it.

If you could change one thing about Vienna what would it be?
It’s stuffiness.

What's the best advice you have been given?
Life is so fast-paced today. I keep catching myself feeling unsatisfied. All you have do is stand still for a moment and consider all the things you have already accomplished. Take a quick breath and value what you have… and don’t take it for granted.

@mafiamashi

dead-white-mens-clothing-vienna-laura-schaeffer
Photography: Laura Schaeffer

jojo gronostay, 31, founder of dead white mens clothes

What exactly is Dead White Men’s Clothes?
In 2017, during a research trip, I came across the Kantamanto Market in Ghana, where you can get second hand clothing from around the world. In the 70s everyone thought that no one in their right mind would give things away like that away for free, so everyone assumed that the pieces were from dead people. Used clothes are called 'Obroni wawu' in the national language, which means 'White man has died'. So my art project developed into a fashion label that deals with the same questions regarding identity politics and sustainability.

Upcycling plays a big role in your work. How do you see the future of fashion?
It’s a time where fashion has to rethink itself. It's important that brands at the top start to change. Only then will others follow. Younger consumers especially are more conscious of the subject of sustainability than older generations.

What should the world know about Vienna?
That Vienna offers great quality of life and is very comfortable… sometimes maybe too comfortable.

How would you describe the creative scene in Vienna?
It’s rather small and easy to overlook, but still international. The art scene here can compete with most other cities.

What advice would you give to other fashion designers?
It's important to have a clear standpoint. There are so many fashion labels, we don’t really need any new ones.

@deadwhitemensclothes

isi rosenberg by laura schaeffer
Photography: Laura Schaeffer

isi rosenberg, 22, make-up artist

How would you describe Vienna’s creative scene?
Everyone supports everyone, but you also have to find your way into it. At the beginning it can be quite hard in Vienna – you have to prove yourself first. Your Instagram account quickly becomes your portfolio.

Is there a beauty tip that you swear by?
I often think less is more. Although, I also like wearing 'too much' sometimes. It totally depends on the person though and how you feel most comfortable. Anything goes. It doesn’t matter if you put on a lot of make-up, dress up totally crazy or super minimalistic. As long as you are happy with it then you’ll have the right look.

Does the concept of beauty even exist any more?
Beauty as we know it creates a lot of pressure and is overly present on social media. Beauty is whatever makes you you. Not your outfit or your make-up.

What should the world know about Vienna?
We have gay traffic lights!

@n3isi

yungleenofficial laura schaeffer vienna
Photography: Laura Schaeffer

julian lee-harather, 20, photographer

Is there a theme in your work?
For me, it’s not really about having a conclusive body of work. I get a lot of inspiration from my childhood. I keep going back to old illustrations from books and fairytales and interpret them in a way that makes sense for me. My photographs are illustrative and look more like drawings or sketches because I work with photoshop a lot in order to visualise an artistic pop look and fairytale-like atmosphere. I used to like the idea of otherworldly magic, but now I'm finding reality more and more attractive.

How does Vienna influence your work?
I’ve been living in Vienna for seven years now. As a child I was fascinated by the architecture here. Everything was bigger and more over the top. At the moment, I’m trying to re-interpret all the decorative arts you see everywhere around the city with the help of digital rendering.

What does the future of photography look like?
It will become increasingly mixed with other media. Classical photography as we know it will still exist, but many more branches will develop. Augmented reality and face/beauty filters are developing a whole new genre of photography.

Why do you think so many young people are moving to Vienna? What makes the city so attractive?
Accessibility. Vienna is the perfect size. It's a pretty small city, but big enough to not feel like you’ve seen everything right away. There are a lot of government grants that go towards the arts and independent workshops too -- many way to develop one's own interests in an affordable way.

@yungleenofficial

superfertig laura schaeffer vienna
Photography: Laura Schaeffer

anna francesca, 22, model

What do you do?
I study graphic design, work as a model and travel a lot. I'm also a photographer.

What is your personal connection to Vienna?
I have fallen in love with the city and with someone that lives in it. I like having Vienna as a base. Many people say it’s boring but that’s exactly what I like about it, because I travel so much for work. Vienna has a lot to offer, but it’s still a quiet place that doesn't carry much stress.

How would you describe Vienna’s creative scene?
There are a lot people here who are trying to create something. That was always the problem with Vienna, that it's a bit of a bubble where nothing happens at the end of the day. But recently there's a lot more going on, and it feels a bit like a creative spring.

What's the best advice you have been given?
Don't shy away from making decisions. With every decision you get to define yourself a little more. I used to be extremely scared of making decisions, because I thought they were either right or wrong. But since I was given this advice I’ve been having a lot more fun.

What does the fashion industry need the most at the moment?
A stick out of its ass!

@superfertig
badnboujee by laura schaeffer vienna
Photography: Laura Schaeffer

bad & boujee, dj collective

Can you share a bit of information about your collective?
We are the first all-black, all-female collective in Vienna. The whole thing came into being two years ago, more or less by chance. We threw a birthday party and asked our friends if they wanted to DJ, and then we ended up DJing too. Then the requests started coming in and we thought: 'Ok, why not?' And we decided that if we do it, it should be for a good cause.

What do you guys stand for?
Inclusivity and intersectionality. Whatever you look like, you can have fun and come to this party. We try to reach the communities that we come from ourselves and that we would like to support. Most of them are queer or POC communities.

How diverse is the Vienna club scene?
The club scene is not only white in regards of what it represents, but also in regards to the people that work in the background. Everyone should take a good look at themselves and their team and ask themselves: 'Is something missing?' It’s not enough to just book these people, they also have to be integrated behind the scenes. For us, it is important that we create something that reflects diversity internally as well as externally. You always hear that Vienna is the best city to live in -- but that’s from the perspective of white people.

What's missing from your city?
Parties where you can feel safe. There are hardly any in Vienna, regardless of whether they are queer parties or not. Assaults always happen, and if you say anything, nothing is ever done about it. Also, there should be more sensitivity towards people of colour in the workplace. Most of the time people just say “we're against racism, against all kinds of xenophobia"; but it goes beyond that. Vienna always likes to say that it’s liberal, but its not enough just to say it -- you have to act accordingly.

@badnboujee.vie

sofie boiler room laura schaeffer vienna
Photography: Laura Schaeffer

sofie fatouretchi, 27, artist

What is your personal connection to Vienna?
I was born and raised in America but my mother is Austrian and my father is Iranian. As a teenager, I lived in Vienna before moving back to LA at 19 to work at Stone Throw Records and help build Boiler Room in the US. Now I study painting and am also working on my own album. Here I’ve also had the time to develop myself creatively.

Where do you go when you hit a writer's block?
I like going for walks in the garden of the Belvedere. There are these Sphinx statues that I find very relaxing. I like the fact that Vienna has its own character -- it's not defined by typical aesthetics that you get everywhere else. I lived abroad for almost seven years. When you've done that, you can see the contrast and then you appreciate Vienna.

How would you describe your generation in one word?
Impatient.

@sofieroyer