Let your imagination run wild and picture the most unusual, crazy, interesting things you could do with your dorm room.
Perhaps you would create a shrine to Beavis and Butthead.
Or make everything, absolutely everything, orange.
Or maybe you would violate the most sacred of Harvard's regulations and paint fluorescent pink murals on the walls.
Harvard students have done all these things--and more.
In an effort to unearth the most fascinating rooms on campus, Melissa A. Weisman '95 of AgitProp, a fine arts organization, is running a year-long competition called "Playing with Space."
"AgitProp mobilizes visual arts to Harvard," Weisman says. "AgitProp is like a big roof, and under that roof are a lot of different rooms, including `Playing With Space.'"
Weisman's goal for "Playing with Space" is to "bring people together for non-political reasons, in a more personal way."
To accomplish this and to pick their favorite rooms, Weisman and her group of judges, Anna R. Dale '96, Edith A. Replogle '96 and Dorota Ostrowska, a visiting student, are "seeing the way [students] live through the environment they've designed for themselves."
They are conducting both a functional and aesthetic evaluation of the rooms, seeing "how creative people have been and how much personal vision they have invested" both in using and decorating space, Weisman says.
"The rooms reflect a great deal of personality, personal needs and tastes," she says. "Some people feel comfortable in a bare room, which I totally understand. Some people feel comfortable in much more elaborate surroundings."
The group has discovered that students' rooms reflect a lot about their inhabitants.
"If a room is really wonderful, it'll affect my way of seeing that person," Weisman says. "Your room is an extension of yourself."
They have also found that many of the more interesting rooms, but not all, contain collections--and they're not talking stamps and baseball cards.
"They're collectors. They have their passions," Weisman says. "There's something very extreme in their personality that they have to be surrounded by these objects. But they all manifest that in different ways."
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