the rideau street re-development project

In 1992 the City of Ottawa and the Rideau Street Business Improvement Association undertook to remove the heated glass sidewalk enclosures that had been installed along the transit mall adjacent to the Rideau Centre and the businesses on the north side of the street. About $40,000 was provided for an artist to work as a member of the design team on the street. As the artist chosen for this I had the option of taking this money as a consulting fee, as a fee for the production of in situ artworks or both. I did both. This project was described by Barry Padolsky (the chief architect) as a reclamation rather than a re-development of the streetscape. This idea of loss and replacement was the main theme for the work I did as an artist member of the design team. The next few pages will give you an idea of what was done.


shelter - its loss and replacement - a photomontage

The change on the street with the greatest impact for pedestrians was the removal of about 500 yards of enclosed, heated glass walkways which had been in place for about a decade. Because of the proximity of the rennovated area to the Ottawa market, which has rich historical connotations, I chose to create an allegory about provisioning for the Canadian winter here. In this picture we see a contemporary camping party under a fantastic, romanticized sky anticipating the return of a hunter looming large in the foreground with food for the coming winter. The hunter leaves one time and walks into another where the campers use electric lights and the little boy plays with a plastic gun. This photomontage uses13 different images shot on location at the confluence of the Ottawa and the Carp river on a campsite in Fitzroy Harbour Ontario Provincial Park. The sky is taken from an old glass astronomical plate taken at the Dominion observatory here in Ottawa.

The finished image exists in many forms and sizes including prints , film positives, data and an 8 1/2 foot long photosilkscreen in a backlit advertising sign. . This image was never installed on the street.

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