ASPHALT OASIS – a landscape intervention by Annette Hegel and Deborah Margo
In 2015, Ottawa’s Main Street was an extended construction zone. Asphalt Oasis, existed in the thick of the tumult, weaving nature, urbanity and culture into an indelible night installation where plant forms and projections combined horizontally, vertically and diagonally throughout De Mazenod School’s derelict concrete playground. The exaggerations and distortions of shadow and light interplayed with the complex growth of hops, scarlet runner bean and morning glory vines growing on strings across the outside space, accompanied by sunflowers planted in the asphalt’s cracks.
Planting started June 15, 2015. Throughout the summer, we created a verdant, multi-sensory experience out of an uncared for and forgotten public space. Set in Old Ottawa East, it was a celebration of the neighbourhood and its residents. On September 19, 2015 Asphalt Oasis was opened to the wandering audience of Ottawa’s Nuit Blanche. Despite high winds, rain and dipping temperatures, visitors experienced the installation as an abundant stage set, showing the transformation of the fenced-in site into a spectacularly lit, blooming night-time garden on pavement.