USchi Groos (DE) "1.7 cm p.a." - Helphoto 2023




1.7 cm p.a.

The title 1.7 cm p.a. refers to the continental drift: the movement of the tectonic plates on our planet, which causes the continents to shift. This phenomenon is of poetic importance to Uschi, because it shows that even the steady ground below our feet is not static, but subject to forces too vast for us to fathom. 

Using a poetic analogy that connects the shifts in the earth’s surface to shifts within contemporary societies, Uschi asks herself, “Are not just continents, but groups of people moving further apart?”. There appears to be a global unwillingness to bridge the gap between right and left, young and old, as well as between ethnic groups and social classes – a development that has no doubt been accelerated by the internet. “Polarization” is a social term with geographical overtones. Uschi wants to find out to what extent photography can tell a story about the shift in a person’s values and persuasions, making this movement visible in analogy to 1.7 cm p.a.

Uschi traveled to Iceland, to places where the drift is visible, and made installations that accentuate this movement. These installations include demarcations of the breaking lines with white ribbon, in some cases literally bridging the cracks in the planet. This “bridge”, if left there for long enough, will eventually snap as the gap widens over time. These installations were documented in a series of photographs, alongside images that portray human life in these places. The point of this project, however, was not to emphasize our insignificance or induce hopelessness. The continental drift is beautiful; it is a precondition of the existence of life as we know it. And finally, changes can have positive effects. As Ernst Bloch said, “The important thing is learning to hope.”.

Uschi Groos is a German freelance photographer who lives and works in Germany, and on La Gomera Island in the Canary Islands where she runs an artist residency. Her work has been shown in national and international galleries and magazines, in solo and group shows. Uschi describes her work as not trying to comfort or entertain the viewer, but to provide new perspectives on topics we have taken for granted too easily. 

USchi Groos (DE) "1.7 cm p.a." - Helphoto 2023
USchi Groos (DE) "1.7 cm p.a." - Helphoto 2023