Dariya Susak was born in Moscow where she departed from seven years ago. “I didn’t really get a chance to work in Moscow. I was nineteen years old and those times were on fire!” Dariya refers to her teenage years in Moscow when she left home in the morning and could find herself in an Elektrichka to her friends’ dacha, playing with street musicians, or just having ‘lots of Vodka fun’, as she puts it herself. She moved straight to Berlin after completing a degree in Graphic Design at the University of Contemporary Art in Moscow, although during her student years Dariya had spent a semester in the West German city of Düsseldorf. “That was my first real trip abroad which went on to become a defining life experience”. Without having been able to speak any German or English the young student had to look for a place to live and to adapt to an unknown education system. “For the first time in my life, I experienced that awkward feeling when you’re walking down the street with a suitcase and nobody is waiting for you. It turns out that everywhere you go something totally new is awaiting you,” Dariya shoots me a smile “It was scary but very cool!”
In her 2011 move to the German capital, the city seemed to her like it was the best city in the world to live, partly because she did not feel like a foreigner. “I saw all the Soviet buildings and discarded bottles lying around and I instantly felt at home.”. The young Russian-Berliner will soon be graduating in Experimental Film from the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) while earning her living as a graphic designer. “There has never really been that question of what to do with my life. I began with visual arts when I was six years old. Although now my focus has shifted towards cultural event management.”
Dariya is currently curating Delight Festival, an environmentally-oriented light-art festival taking place across three different venues in Berlin this year. The festival promotes sustainable lifestyles through contemporary art and aims to establish a new form of communication between eco-institutes, eco-initiatives and audiences. When I ask her what she loves most about our city, her answer is the following: “I love and hate Berlin! On one hand, it totally took hold of me but on the other hand, it took me away from my family and friends” Dariya refers to her time in Moscow. “I am also fascinated by all the ateliers, non-profit organizations and clubs [in Berlin]. There are so many opportunities for non-commercial activities on a small scale, as well as ‘soulful businesses’ and ‘mutual aid clubs’,” Dariya continues to rave about the city. “I’ve met amazing people who’ve become new friends, and whole organizations that have been willing to help me for nothing in return, something that is otherwise so rare. Berlinograd, by the way, is one of them,” she finishes her sentence by giving me a twinkling smile.