Route 28 – The European Journey – Aftermath

May 12, 2017

Last week a major project I was involved in became real. Route 28 – The European Journey in Vienna sent nearly a thousand people to various locations in Vienna. All in one day and all in a few hours our guest experienced culinary delights, performative actionism or other sensual experiences. The event was a success – but let’s reflect a little.

Doing something ‘good’, or let’s say doing something that aims to make a difference in a specific context is something that many people hope for in their lives. Too often we feel caught in a more or less senseless situation. Day-in, day-out we do work that neither benefits other people nor ourselves. Being involved in an idealist project like Route 28, however, is something very different.

On the pro side, there are many valuable things to find. First of all, there is no routine. That is great because everything is rather fluid in quick. Decisions have to be made on the fly. This creates a huge potential for creativity since there are so many constraints existent all the time.

Secondly, the people that are engaged in such a project are one of a kind. I personally like to thank all of them (Bich, Christoph, Erika, Eva, Katharina, Lisa und Stefan). It was great to work with a group of people that decided to work together and not being forced to do so. Throughout the last six months, various working constellations evolved. This was very exciting and became such an organic way of creation. I personally learnt a lot about my colleagues and their various approaches to problem-solving. Also, I wanna thank the numerous people in the red shirts. Without you guys, the whole thing wouldn’t have worked.

Also, it is just great to design something like Route 28. And by this, I do not mean the visual stuff, the logo, and the illustrations. No, I mean all of the things that happen in such a project. There are bizarre questions to answer: How do you move a 1000 people through a city without losing someone? How can you conceptualise 15 country stations that have to work separately and as a whole? Has anyone thought about what mums and dads do with their buggies? How should the application system work? Will my mum and dad be able to register online? These are all super important questions which were delightful matters to solve.

Lastly, from a conceptional perspective, and now it gets nerdy (this is the stuff I really like), it is just great to bring something very intangible like: ‘Let’s create an event that transports various European cultures’ to a tangible result. Of course, many solutions are possible. Of course, some things work well and others don’t. But hey, this is just a lot of fun to do and very exciting.

On the negative side, sadly, there are also some points to mention. There is no security. Budgets are small. The job itself is mortification. People say they like/love your project but when is comes to financing it they are quickly gone. The job is a typical entrepreneurial and creative thing to do. Sadly, we live in a society that does not pay for people that take such risks and believe in idealistic approaches. Our culture is still a culture of maintenance – and we have learnt this the hard way. However, there were also those that believed in what we produce and I wanna personally thank those people.

I am very happy to say that the project won the European State Award. I think the team deserves it and I am looking forward to seeing where Route 28 will grow to.