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Innovative hair sculpture should inspire lively and informed debate

I have no doubt that Norman M. Werely G expresses the concerns of many members of the MIT community in stating his objections to a proposed sculpture by Mags Harries for the Stratton Student Center ["Bizarre hair sculpture should not be placed in MIT Student Center" March 20]. However, I think he unfairly misrepresents the Institute when he states that goal of MIT is "to describe phenomena in a rational and logical manner," using this premise to object to the proposed work's complex, multivalent qualities.

Innovative thinking can only flourish in an environment of open-minded exploration and creativity. This implies a willingness to give careful consideration to ideas that might initially seem unlikely, and to then make an educated decision based on this inquiry.

To summarily dismiss this project as a "gargantuan hair ball" is to disavow these principles. Ellen T. Harris, associate provost for the arts, has provided a wonderful and unique opportunity for members of MIT community to view models of the proposed sculpture, to meet with the artist, and to participate in the decision-making process in a knowledgeable way, before the sculpture is created or installed.

As with innovative thinking of any kind, debate is inevitable, and informed debate is welcome. Regardless of whether or not Harries' challenging sculpture becomes a reality, the dialogue generated in the decision-making process is sure to be illuminating.

Susannah Wolfson->

Office of Foundation Relations->