Behind the lens: Montreal artist loops us into his unique view of the world
MONTREAL -- Meet AJ Korkidakis. He makes things and he breaks things -- at least, that's what his Instagram profile says.
"I've always really been kind of obsessed with cities and big cities," he said. "It's something that has always really fascinated me and I love the visuals of urban density and all that, but also, it's a love-hate thing."
What he means by that, Korkidakis explained, is he doesn't shy away from sharing his political views, but he does like to give his art the space to subtly speak for itself.
"I think any time anyone is making something that's a personal expression of them, you're going to get a whole bunch of different layers to it," he said. "They're not really meant to be statements. They're just kind of a reflection of the way I'm experiencing the world."
In a way, Korkidakis says his work is almost meditative, capturing small moments in time that we'll never get back.
"A lot of aspects of this urban life and the way we live today are not sustainable and are not great for a lot of people," he said. "It's a bit contrived, but you know, it's a bit of the beauty and the awfulness kind of angle to it."
His artworks are a mix of natural phenomenons, juxtaposed with the grittiness of city life.
"There's a connection there too, the need to be present in moments and to try to really be present in everyday life," he said. "The more I got into that, the line between urban and nature kind of started to dissolve and you start to see how it's kind of all pieces of the same thing."
The 33-year-old filmmaker studied cinema, video and communications at Dawson College before moving on to do communication studies at Concordia University.
Since graduating a decade ago, he's taking it on himself to experiment with the kind of art he wants to share with the world.
"I was looking for a medium that worked for me in terms of, like, just me being able to create stuff and express myself and to a certain extent, make what's inside my head into some kind of physical thing," he mused. "I've never been much of a drawer or a painter or anything. I just started messing around with video...and I found that, that was a format that really suited me. One that just speaks to me."
One of his favourite, and perhaps most well-known, projects are his loops of the Montreal Metro system.
"Ever since I was a kid, I've really been drawn to the Montreal Metro system. I think part of it was just how exciting it was when I was young," he said. "It was a very exciting place for me and also, something that remains til today, is just how beautiful each Metro is and how different they are... I've always had love for the Montreal Metro system."
Korkidakis pointed out he doesn't always go out with an idea of what he's going to create. Rather, he lets the city offer up pieces of itself for him to pull together.
"There's an aspect to it that's kind of like a treasure hunt," he explains, adding he'll sometimes spend over an hour in one location. "I'll just capture a whole bunch at a place and then... I'll bring it home and scroll through it and try to see what I found and work with the pieces I have."
Being stuck in lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic has given Korkidakis time to think about where he would like to take his filmmaking in the future.
"Making these loops are, at some level, a journalling or a diary of where I've been and what I've seen," he said. "I would like, in the future, potentially, to have a physical exhibit or show... I think it would be interesting to be in a setting where people can literally just sit with the loops for a long period of time because I think they do change the longer you sit with them, or the way you express them."