Anyone See The Body Worlds Exhibit?

by tall penguin 17 Replies latest social entertainment

  • tall penguin
    tall penguin

    This weekend I saw the Body Worlds 2 exhibit in Toronto. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, the exhibit features dead bodies of humans and animals. Using a process called plastination the specimens are preserved. Basically it's skinless cadavers on parade. It mixes anatomy, science and art with the specimens in positions of dance or sport.
    From the Centre that is hosting the exhibit in Toronto:
    "Featuring over 200 real human specimens including entire bodies, individual organs and body slices, this exhibition offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see and understand our own anatomy and health. You'll gain a new appreciation and respect for what it means to be human."
    I found the exhibit most disturbing. The idea of the dead human body as art form left me feeling queasy. The worst part of the exhibit for me was the pregnant mother with her belly cut away so you could see the 5 month old in her womb.
    Has anyone else seen this exhibit? What did you think of it?
    tall penguin

  • tall penguin
    tall penguin

    In case you're interested in seeing what it's all about or would like to donate your body to the exhibit :) (sorry it's not a live link...I'm on a mac)
    tall penguin

  • tetrapod.sapien

    oh yes! i saw a program on this. i would love to go see it.\


  • Emma

    We had plasticized brains in our office last week, I kid you not. (I work in a University office with neuro-specialists.)Didn't care to touch them. I feel a certain interest but don't know if I could handle the exhibit.

  • lonelysheep

    I would love to go see this, although I don't think of it as art. Since there's no chance of med school in my future, this is a great way I could see the human body. Anatomy is fascinating.

  • slugga

    There was a bit of controversy when that show did London. taken from wikpedia..


    The shows have been surrounded by controversy for a number of reasons. Von Hagens prepared some "artistic" exhibits, such as a man carrying his own skin (based on a 16th century drawing by Gaspar Becerra); a man on horseback holding his brain in one hand, the horse's brain in the other; and a man kneeling in prayer, holding his heart in his hands. These exhibits are seen by some as denigrating the deceased. Some religious groups object to any public exhibition of human corpses. Others accuse von Hagens of sensationalism.

    Von Hagens has been repeatedly accused of using bodies from deceased persons who did not give consent, such as prison inmates and hospital patients from Kyrgyzstan and executed prisoners from China. He maintains that all bodies exhibited in Body Worlds came from donors who gave informed consent. A commission set up by the California Science Center in Los Angeles in 2004 confirmed Von Hagens' claims. However, Von Hagens does not make the same claim for all bodies prepared by his plastination institute, only the ones exhibited in Body Worlds. There is also the issue that the children and unborn fetuses included in the exhibition had no way of giving informed consent to the display of their bodies. Consent presumably had to be obtained from their parents.

    The exhibit has also been accused of perpetuating gender stereotypes (Stern 2003). The male plastinates are presented in active, "manly" and heroic roles (such as ‘the horseman’, ‘muscleman’, ‘the swordsman’, ‘the runner’ and ‘the chess player’) while the female plastinates are shown in the context of motherhood, beauty and passivity (such as 'the ballerina' who is actually wearing pink ballerina slippers; 'pregnant woman' a plastinate whose womb is exposed to show her unborn child and 'angel' whose feet are posed as if she were wearing high heels, complete with bits of her feet shaped into stilettos). Furthermore, all exhibited bodies are those of Caucasians.

    Von Hagens maintains strict copyright control over pictures of his exhibits. Visitors are not allowed to take pictures, and press photographers are required to sign agreements permitting only a single publication in a strictly defined context, followed by a return of the copyright to von Hagens. Because of this, a German press organization has suggested that the press refrain from reporting about the exhibition altogether.

    In 2003, officials of Munich tried to prohibit the exhibition there, arguing that it violated laws regulating burials and did not respect human dignity. Von Hagens appealed and managed to obtain a temporary injunction allowing the exhibition to take place, but was required to cover the artistic exhibits mentioned above.

    The exhibition in Hamburg in 2003 took place in the rooms of an erotic art museum on the Reeperbahn, the city's red light district. Prostitutes and cab drivers were admitted for free. Von Hagens added a new exhibit, "Early Bird", a man with an erection.[1] Initial objections of a local official to the artistic exhibits were overruled by officials of the Hamburg Senate.

    Annoyed with the repeated legal harassment which he encountered in Germany, Von Hagens announced in the summer of 2004 that the exhibition would leave Germany for good. The exhibit has been travelling in the United States and Canada since then.

  • willowmoon

    I saw it at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and want to to back, this time with my son. It's an amazing exhibit ... I think everyone should see it to gain appreciation of the human body.


  • tall penguin
    tall penguin

    Thanks slugga for that information. Very interesting. The whole experience still gives me the creeps when I think about it.
    tall penguin

  • kristyann

    That is so weird... my friend and I were just talking about that this morning. She said that she really wanted to see it and that she "loves that stuff." And I said it grossed me out and that I was not at all interested. That's sick about the pregnant mother and the baby in her womb! Sick and sad. How did she die, I wonder? She agreed to having her body on display like that ahead of time? Too bad her baby didn't have a say in it... well, s/he's in a better place now. I think some of that stuff is important for research purposes... donating your body to science is one thing. However, just having dead bodies open to the public to come check out is nasty and sad.

  • tetrapod.sapien

    it's funny that people need to justify the exhibit as "scientific" in order to go see it. they can't just go see it as art, because somehow that is different. somehow as art it is disturbing, but as science, well then, that's okay then.

    what is it you people are so afraid of? if it's so "sad", then every freaking pregnant woman with skin and a baby is "sad".

    where does this fear of art come from? that everything has to fit under a label and in a box:

    • well this here is a 18th century romantic painting.... oil on canvas.
    • this here is a cubist sculpture made from old junkyard metal.
    • this here is the ceiling if the sistine chapel.

    and it's not because they're "dead". ooooooo ... "dead people on display" ooooooo.... it's that you can't label it and pack it away tidily in your mind. it haunts you. and that is art. it challenges you and your paradigms and holds a mirror in front of your face. it's up to you if you see beauty in the reflection or not.

    the sistine chapel? cotton candy.


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