Thesis
Master of Arts in Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies  
Rhode Island School of Design 2021
Creative Writing


Digital Grad Show + Excerpts of the writing
https://publications.risdmuseum.org/grad-show-2021-liberal-arts/alexandra-ionescu 

Abstract

A Pond Becomes a Forest questions the terms by which we come to our knowledge systems, and asks how we interpret and know nature. This thesis argues for direct encounters with natural forms and the processes that create them. It represents a search to understand ecology through profound attention. It proposes new ways of perceiving and interacting with the natural world.

The central character is a bibliophile who discovers a world through books. After years of immersion in words, an imaginary study room emerges, a location that represents her knowledge accumulation. After she directly encounters nature, however, her worldview changes, and she transforms into a budding ecologist. As she begins a patient process of observing natural life cycles, a new order of perception unfolds.

Through prose storytelling and empirical research, A Pond Becomes a Forestcombines often disjunctive forms of writing as a method of argumentation. Unlike a more static academic paper, this thesis develops non-linearly, blooming outwards across a network of events, associations, meditations, and chance encounters. The writing gathers ideas and approaches to cultivate curiosity, capturing not only how the protagonist tends to her ecological self, but how we all might imagine doing so.