O is for Ocean

Field Study Proposal

Why does the ocean and water in general have such a powerful resonance for our imagination and attraction for our bodies? Using the Goethean-inspired practice of direct perception and delicate empiricism, the student will investigate the movement, reflection, horizon, diffusion and luminosity inherent in the ocean and in art about the ocean. The student will conduct field studies during which she will write, draw and photograph as a way to record and investigate these qualities of the sea and what effects they have on the imagination and body. She will also explore how other painters, poets, photographers, artists and scientists explain and study the poetic aspects of the ocean and will compile her research at luminoussea.tumblr.com as ‘an anthology of the ocean’ through poetic, artistic and scientific lenses alike. As a supplement to her study of the ocean and art, the student will also study creativity, the process of delicate empiricism, and how “an object well-contemplated opens an organ of perception within us” (Goethe); what processes and techniques do curious people use to translate the essence of a phenomenon into art with love, openness and well-crafted poetry, image and research? The month’s research will provide the basis for a short winter term paper explaining the process of delicate empiricism. The student will then create a manual for conducting this process of sensitive  science, supplemented with her poetry and photography into a small, beautifully formatted booklet as a spring quarter project. This ocean study is about body-knowledge and water-knowledge, is about how art can show us where our selves overlap with the phenomena of the world, and how creativity is rooted in and resonates with the world.

Read complete field study proposal here

ABCs and 123s – weekly log and field notes

[catlist tags=o-logs date=yes excerpt=yes excerpt_size=30]

Bachelardian Reverie

[catlist tags=o-bachelard date=yes excerpt=yes excerpt_size=30]


[catlist tags=o-poetry excerpt=yes excerpt_size=30]

Poetry Observed


Fall Term Paper Abstract: The Bracken Fern

The language of scientific research is increasingly divorced from the poetic experience of observation. Descriptions are often stale and highly specific in a way that doesn’t encompass the entire character of the organism. By practicing Goethean science, one can use science and art to describe specific scientific findings with the subjective experience of being in contact with phenomena. The body emits electromagnetic frequencies from the heart that are constantly in flux with its environment. These waves manifest as emotions: in short, the sensory input from the heart as emotions is important data to use when perceiving phenomena. It is difficult to translate emotions into linear language, which is why poetic language and art can be more effective tools for conveying the sensory input of experience. This paper is about the search for knowledge about the Bracken fern through observation of the plant and observation of the observer as she observes. It strives to use poetic language alongside specific facts to compose a holistic portrait of the bracken.

Read full fall term paper here


Winter Term Paper Abstract: Seven Steps Towards a Delicate Empiricism

These seven steps are an attempt to illustrate a process of “delicate empiricism” as a way to conduct creative and scientific investigations. The process is based in the phenomenological experience of the senses paired with imagination, research, and creation that results in discoveries that may be communicated to others through art and science. These seven steps urge the observer to recognize the merits of using both the heart and the mind when exploring the world, and are a way to bring together the inquisitive nature of science with the subjective experience of art. These are the steps used by the student during a month long field study during which she studied the ocean, and are a part of a larger paper that explores the power of art as a means of expressing truths about the sea. Delicate empiricism is a process that illuminates how love can be translated from a phenomenon through the senses into art, which is a new phenomenon in itself. It starts: passion, observation, imagination, conversation, context, and organs of perception. It begins anew in love. 

Read full winter term paper here

Spring Term Booklet: waterbodies

This booklet is a manual to the methods I lived while sensing through art, the ocean, my body and memory during my winter term field study of the sea. The regular type poses the prompts I asked myself; the italicized type is the poetic voice of my experience with the wide, churning, sensual, somatic, deep, horizontal, salty subject of the sea, encompassed in the oceanic whisperings of parenthesis.
This project began with a question: How does the ocean affect the body and the imagination?
(Why does the opening from vertical land to horizontal sea seem to mimic a shift from brain analyzing to belly sensing?
Why does it feel that thoughts turn to substance and churn, settle, spread when in the presence of the sea?
What do artists render in art about the sea? How does art then illuminate ocean-experience in turn?)

This booklet explains some of how and what I learned.

Read waterbodies here



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