Peter Powning’s monumental work, Strata, puts the human era in perspective as it evokes a sense of geological time. Imagining what it would be like to take a geological core sample from below the building, Powning draws up earth from the depths, bringing his surreal vision to life through precast, colourful concrete. Embedded in this concrete are layers of bronze relief which he calls “the human era,” and “archaeological crust” which makes reference to artifacts mainly found when excavating on the site. The three distinct stratas therefore loosely represent, from the bottom up, the site’s pre-European history, the post-contact/modern era, and a possible post-human era or a future in which the human footprint is very light. The glass features represent aquifers, bodies of rock and sediment that are completely saturated by water.
Since Strata was chosen to highlight one of the main entrances to Toronto’s Cinema Tower, a space that is often used during TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival), Powning developed his concept with a movie-set design quality in mind.