On a Thesis High


My thesis has never gone this well so far and I have never been so excited about it and motivated.  And every week recently this fact is becoming truer and truer.  The pieces are coming together and I see a clear path ahead.  Whenever I start working on my thesis it has been hard to get myself to stop to take breaks and I find myself working for hours.  The first full graded draft of my paper is due in two weeks, and I am excited to see it come together.

This week I have added much more information in the situated context about each of my artists.  The top of my hourglass is very close to done.  So is my methodology and results.  In my results I have added sections for each of my artists dividing them into categories with subheadings.  First I talk about the art specifically at hand, both in terms of content, artists intentions, and the science and mechanics used.  I then discuss the broader traditional scientific context and other examples of the artists methods when used in a purely scientific context.  I then compare the traditional science to the science used in the art being discussed, and then lastly do a purely artistic analysis of the work.  Jason Decaires Taylor and Buster Simpson are pretty much done minus editing.  I am getting increasingly close to finishing with Betsy Damon.

On Saturday I used the Portland Davinci school’s Living Water Garden Project government documentation to describe the process in order to relate it to the actual Living Water Garden, which it is based off of.  I figured that because the project was based off of the more famous version, it would provide a good reference of the construction process in absence of other sources explaining the physical creation of the park, as shown in Table 1.  I wrote a whole long section about this, only to find a few days later a chapter of a book Facilitating Watershed Management that is entirely about the Living Water Garden, Co-written by Betsy Damon herself and Anne H. Mavor that is the most detailed explanation of the park I’ve found so far, and explains the construction.  I learned that the design was based off a fish and is meant to resemble one from an aerial view (fig. 1), which I previously was not aware of.  Betsy Damon is also sending me documentation.  I now need to figure out how much of the section about the Davinci School’s project I want to take out, and if I want to move it to another section of the paper.  I also still need to add the last three sections of the Betsy Damon part of results in which I discuss the traditional science, the comparison, and the art analysis.  I already have a large amount of content on Damon in the paper, so I need to figure out how I will go about this and if I should cut down on what I have written so far.

Table 1: Living Water Garden Project Description

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Table found from City of Portland, DaVinci Living Water Garden Project: 2508 NE Everett Street, Portland: Project Summary, https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/78197.

Fig. 1: Aerial View of Living Water Garden

Image from https://www.codaworx.com/project/the-living-water-garden

I also have worked on the bottom and top of the paper more this week.  For instance, in my comparison/generalization section I added a paragraph about landscape architecture and how Jason Decaires Taylor and Betsy Damon fit into this.  I have fixed all the labels and captions for the figures and tables.  In the situated context, I started to explain the importance of water more, instead of just describing aquatic ecosystems, and I’ve started to explain what I am specifically categorizing as “aquatic” art.  The part of my paper that currently needs the most work is the discussion of the results.  I have discussed the results of the artists results individually, but the section where I explain the significance of the results overall in relation to one another has not been updated since I changed artists and research methods.  This is one of my main goals for the next week.


Damon, Betsy and Anne H. Mavor. 2005. “Combining Art and Science: the Living Water Garden in Chengdu, China,” in Facilitating Watershed Management, edited by Robert L. France, 293-302. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

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