Tatyana Palyga lived in many places before finally moving to Berlin. She recently opened Zoopark Studio with her business partner Alexander Bondar in Berlin-Neukölln. Reason enough for us to sit down with her and ask her a couple of questions. Find out about her motivation to found Zoopark Collective, Zoopark Studio as well as settling down in Berlin.
Where are you from?
I grew up in a city named Cherepovets in the north-western part of Russia.
What are the strongest memories you have from your hometown?
Grey apartment blocks, railways, industrial smoking chimneys, winter and darkness.
What did you do in your hometown?
After studying philology in Cherepovets at the local university, I then went on to work as a manager of an educational program for young entrepreneurs in a city development agency. I then moved to St. Petersburg, where I lived for almost 7 years. I was employed by Coca Cola though alongside that job I studied photography. When the right moment came along, I was able to quit that job to concentrate on photography, soon after I was able to begin work as a freelancer photographer. In 2013, I moved to the Czech Republic to undertake a Master’s degree in photography. Since graduating, I have been engaged in a variety of projects mostly in Europe that lead me to the Czech Republic, France, and Germany, among others.
When did you arrive in Berlin?
In September 2017 my work lead me towards being in Berlin. It also made sense to establish a presence in the German capital. Together with the photographer Alexander Bondar, we work on our Zoopark Publishing Collective projects here. Recently we opened our own project space, Zoopark Studio.
What is Zoopark Publishing Collective?
In St.Petersburg myself and Alexander had already taken a press photography class together. After graduating eight years earlier we began to support each other with working on our first photo books as well as personal projects. Later on we came up with the idea to publish our own periodical photography magazine, Zoopark.
Where does the name come from?
We somehow stumbled upon the name Zoopark, and we both immediately liked it. Not only is it somehow international sounding but for whatever reason it has a special ring to it. Zoopark reflects the style of the magazine and also that of our work: eclectic, strange, funny and sad at the same time. All together it’s a good label to reflect the style and content of our publishing projects.
You have just opened Zoopark Studio [Berlin] in Kreuzberg? What does that work entail for the two of you, and what is the motivation behind it?
Zoopark Studio is a multipurpose space run by our collective. Firstly it serves as our publishing office where we work on the future publications. It’s also our showroom and gallery that focuses on limited edition photography, silkscreen prints, photo-based books and zines by Zoopark. We plan as well to initiate collaborations with other artists from Eastern Europe. We also use the space to organize events, workshops, artist talks and concerts.
What brought you to Berlin?
Berlin attracted me with its vibrant cultural life. Opening our own art space and prints shop was already an idea we had in mind and Berlin seemed the perfect place to try it out!
What is typical about Berlin? What do you love (or hate) about Berlin?
I like Berlin’s street life, especially in the summer months, its relaxed atmosphere of freedom and the mixture of cultures. But I still can’t get used to Berlin’s public transport system: not only is it quite expensive but it also often does not run properly which causes problems. So I try to make use of my bicycle a lot, although that can be quite a hectic experience when it’s windy or raining.
What is your contribution to make Berlin a little bit more beautiful?
Our Zoopark Studio, of course!
What is your favorite place in Berlin?
Tempelhofer Feld, it’s an amazing open space that is perfect to do some sport or even just to chill.