Sub Rosa


A few years ago I walked around the walled confines of Copiapo, named after the river that once flowed through this city in northern Chile, in the Atacama, the driest desert on earth. The eternal sun has completely bleached out the barren landscape, hardly anything grows here. Arranged in a bare grid, the houses looked as lifeless as the surrounding desert landscape.

Sub Rosa means “in secret”. Life has retreated below the surface in Copiapo, away from the relentless sun. Everything goes into the ground, the city is sunken, inhabitants are in darkened houses and work in copper or gold mines. Even the river has deflected, and seeps underground. You don’t see a living soul, every now and then you discover someone in the shadow of an electricity pole. Everything remains hidden in the cracks of the landscape.