This is the time that all of my previous environmental courses, all of my practice with research projects, and all of my work on my area of interest come together for a year-long capstone/thesis project. In this course, each student designs a year-long research project based off of their concentration in the program leading up to senior year. Students can choose to do a traditional thesis, or an alternative outcome project, in which they write a ten page research paper alongside conducting a project of choosing. Some examples of alternative outcomes are films, story books, or formal letters to congress members.
I chose to create a traditional thesis for my senior capstone. I love creative projects, and with an art focus, there would have been plenty of options for an interested alternative outcome. However, because I am also an art major and have a focus in art in the Environmental Studies program, I have already done a lot of creative work in undergrad. I love creative work, but I also find there is a lot of value in being able to do traditional and professional academic research and writing. I wanted this skill to really be under my belt before I graduated. Furthermore, because I am working on my senior art project in my other major as well, I did not want my two year-long senior thesis projects to be too similar. I wanted to practice different skills with both projects. And so, for art I am doing what all the senior art majors do at Lewis and Clark College: developing my own practice and style of art, and continuously making new art and artist statements in preparation for having my art displayed in a show. In stark contrast to this, I am doing a traditional research thesis for ENVS. This way despite being busy with my two largest projects since I began college, I get to still do different kinds of work.
As described on my Area of Interest page, I have focused on outdoor art created on frontier zones. I define frontier zones as those areas that humans do not, rarely do and/or cannot currently inhabit, such as in aquatic ecosystems, the far poles or outer space. This is a huge topic, and so I had to condense my focus for my capstone. After making a lot of changes, and shifting focus quite a few times, I decided to research functional aquatic eco-art. This is art in aquatic bodies that not only culturally holds ecological themes, but blends with engineering and science to serve actual ecological functions, such as waste water treatment. This interdisciplinary blend in this genre of art fascinates me, as so I have been investigating how this art does or does not conform to traditional scientific practices, and what the implications of this are. This is the very condensed explanation of my thesis work. Thesis Poster (14) is a link to my poster. To see more take a look at my posts for this course.