Trivial Tragedies

Trivial Tragedies | Minor Stories of Urban Redemption

Trivial Tragedies looks at the urban space on a micro level.This is a collection of found still lifes in the public and semi-public spaces of Korea.They highlight discarded or seemingly incongruous objects and spaces whose former glory is long lost.The unexpected juxtaposition of these objects and the places they inhabit gives way to narratives that raise questions about their origins and use. Although these objects are in public spaces they were mostly found tucked away in alleyways and rooftops,coming together—if not exactly hidden—away from public scrutiny.These scenes have been ignored and forgotten rather than actively casted away.The photographs are an attempt to bring attention to anonymous stories, in order to forge connections and engage the environment that surrounds us and that is so easy to ignore.


Send me an e-mail: alejandro [at] alexmatz [dot] com

For inquiries about the work contact (작품 문의):

Soohoh Gallery @ soohoh88 [at] naver [dot] com

Déjà Vu | Jamais Vu

Over the past eight years I have lived in five different countries. Being a nomad has become part of who I am and how I experience the world. I move forward constantly looking for new things and occasionally going back to revisit old memories. Photography has served as the mediator between exploration and self-revelation. It is a means to record new experiences and remember old ones, and with time these two begin to meld together. Memories fade or transform and suddenly new places become saturated with familiarity. It is easy to lose oneself in this constant barrage of experiences, and when words fail to accurately retell our lives, all that remains are the images that connect us to those moments that are long gone and the ones we are living in. Through photography the new becomes familiar and the familiar is reborn as extraordinary.

Images were shot between 2005-2013.

On display at Soohoh Gallery in South Korea from June 15 to June 24

In Transit

This series is inspired by the ideas of Alisa Freedman and Marc Augé about the urban environment, and deals with the role of the automobile in mediating our experience of a disjointed urban continuum. In the turn of the 20th century, with the introduction of mass public transportation, the geography of the city and the way in which its inhabitants related to the urban space drastically changed. Cities began to expand rapidly with suburbs sprouting around it at a rapid pace. The dynamic of the city changed from a place where people would spend most of their time in a single neighborhood to one characterized by disparate nodes of activity that bear little relation to each other. In other words, people live in one node (the suburbs), but work in a different node (business district) and play in yet  another node (entertainment district). The introduction of public transportation means that people can move large distances, but the geography of the city became a disjointed series of spaces unrelated to each other.

These pictures explore the liminal space between these nodes, what Augé calls a non-place. With rapid urban expansion we spend more and more time in these non-places such as motorways and supermarkets. Such spaces encourage anonymity and a lack of interaction, and are designed as transitional and merely functional. Our experience of such spaces is disjointed and often times forgotten. Through the images I capture these non-places as a unique and unexpected experience that connect the viewers with the landscape forcing them to stop and look at the beauty and complexity that these spaces can have. The images were shot in Mexico, Japan and the United States between 2006 and 2008.

北京背景 (Bĕijīng Bèijĭng)

This group of images deals with the relationship between people and the city amidst rapid expansion and modernization, in particular in relation to scale and disjointed chaos. Leading up  to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the city experienced an incredible rate of change. Rapid growth in infrastructure and drastic changes in the city’s landscape were welcome and the lives of millions of people probably changed for the better. However, when change happens in such a dramatic way there is a lingering sense of displacement and chaos. This is highlighted by the difference in scale between people and their environment. The size and complexity of the city makes it impossible for people to have a good grasp of it as a whole and the experiences in this space are discrete and disjointed.

In the wake of the Olympic Games, China, and particularly Beijing, emerged with renewed confidence and continued with the rapid modernization of the city.  Buildings were demolished without compunction and new ones soon emerged from the rubble. The landscape would become unrecognizable from one month to the next and the only constant were the construction cranes dotting the background. This project was shot in 2008-2009, and was made possible thanks to a Dartmouth College Grant.

Ciudad Segura

Despite being, for the most part, spared from the kind of violence that has afflicted other parts of the country and becoming significantly less dangerous over the past decade, Mexico City continues to struggle with safety. Starting in 2008 the city invested hundreds of millions of dollars installing almost 12 thousand security cameras and creating a Center for Emergency Assistance and Citizen Protection. The program is often used within the political discourse as a claim that the government is actively combating crime. However amidst the program the 2011 riots in London, one of the cities with most widespread use of CCTV, broke out, and new research was published showing that security cameras did little to curtail crime.

I became interested in documenting the use of security cameras in the city, because of the strange paradox that they present. On the one hand the cameras are ubiquitous and yet people hardly ever notice them. In fact large part of the government’s campaign involved bringing more attention to them. I am particularly interested in the way in which public and semi-public spaces are affected by the simple act of being observed and the space itself becomes the subject.  This project became an exercise in observation, looking at those who are being observed and those who are doing the observing. The hope for these pictures is to raise awareness of the role security cameras have in public spaces and encourage discussion about their use.

Along the Han

These photographs look at the space where the urban and natural spaces meet. While the urban space is discrete and disjointed, the natural space is complete and unified. This liminal space allows for these contrasts to arise. The images were shot between 2012-2013 along the Han river and its tributaries in Seoul, South Korea.