Photo show features alienating aspect of Seoul

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Photo show features alienating aspect of Seoul

Jul 01, 2005

Seoul is a multi-faceted metropolitan city which is overwhelmingly complex even for residents familiar with its innermost corners and back streets. For expats, Seoul could be something more than a complex mega city.

A photography exhibition titled "Collective Alienation," which is running at Gallery Skape in Seoul, provides a glimpse of how a foreign resident in Seoul perceives the fast-evolving city.

The show features 42 black and white photos that were taken over a period of 14 months, including an installation work. The photos generate chaotic and surreal images as Australian photographer Andy Wim Sheehy shot images at unremarkable locations such as a bus stop, subway stations, puddles of water and the street.

"This project is not aimed at documenting Korea or Korean culture.

Instead, it's to expose an alienated state of mind. Through the use of abstruse shadows and reflections, it's my intentions to leave the audience confused, disassociated and alienated," says Sheehy, who has been teaching English in Seoul for about three and a half years.

The primary reason for picking up alienation as a theme, Sheehy says, is the difficulties with learning the language, making it hard to communicate with the outside world. He started to walk the streets of Seoul and capture images using 35mm camera to express his feelings of isolation and disassociation.

What Sheehy discovered is a world of what he calls "The Others," a universal anomaly that transcends cultures and boundaries. "I felt an affinity with 'The Others,' because they are incapable of communication with outside world. 'The Others' parallel my own state of mind and struggle to communicate with the world around me," he says.

The photo show, supported by the Australian Embassy in Seoul, will run through July 4. For further information, call (02) 3143-4675 or visit


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