For these strata walks—-I asked my Sculpture students from Brock University in St Catharines Ontario to go on three directed walks.
The first two where around a city block in downtown St. Catharines close to our studio and the last was a walk over to Rodman Hall Gallery on the other side of the river
For the first walk participants followed the Strata Prompts that HPU have used for other walks.
This is a stratigraphic walk to map the different layers of meanings, stories, and systems that make up a place.
Students were invited to map the “strata” of that city block in St. Catharines
- Signed Strata: Identify texts and the systems they belong to (street signs – civic, colonialist; advertising – capitalist; graffiti – poetic or interventionist etc.)
- Architectural Strata: Identify architectural periods. Note lovely buildings, or intriguing buildings, or decrepit buildings and broken curbs.
- Non-human animals Strata: Look for non-human creatures on the street. Pet a cat. Who else lives on the street? Birds? Insects?
- Inanimate Strata: Identify plants (native, invasive, useful, ornamental, etc.), note the rocks.
- Pre-urban strata: Imagine what was here before, the landscape without the city. Do this without resorting to the trope of “untamed wilderness.”
- Electrical Strata: Trace the power lines (where does the electricity come from?).
- Shiny Strata: Look for things that are shiny and where the light comes from. Draw or write about them.
- Attraction Strata: Notice what is repulsive to you and what attracts you. You can draw or take pictures. Try to use each of your senses for this!
- Olfactory Strata: Notice the smells of the street. How can you map sound without using words? If you do use words try synaesthesia.
- Audio Strata: How does the street sound? What does the street sound? Where does the street sound? Record audio or take notes.
- Speculative Strata: Map what the street could be. Revamp it according to your imagination.
- Tactile Strata: How does the street feel? Make rubbings, drawings of felt strata.
- Storied Strata: Interview strangers (or yourself) on the street and gather stories about the street. What is the street’s history? Any anecdotes?