Recycled Bodies Exhibit: Creepy or Innovative?

The Soccer PlayerThe Soccer PlayerIf you have a weak stomach, turn away. This subject is about to go beyond the common life saving practice of donating human organs to those in need. Today you can donate your body too, not to save a life, but to be placed on display in a museum.

That’s right. The process is called plastination. First, the skin is stripped off the body. Second, water and fatty tissue are replaced with acetone and then with a polymer solution. Finally, the body is sculpted or sliced and placed in Dr. Gunther von Hagens’s Body Worlds exhibits. The Skin ManThe Skin Man

It may sound strange or morbid, the kind of thing you’d see in a Halloween movie, but it serves a good purpose, and the purpose isn’t meant to keep you up at night (although it might). Instead it is an opportunity to discover what the human anatomy is like in the flesh and bone; no more plastic body parts in anatomy class. See it up close and on display. Take a look at a shrunken liver and a smoker’s lungs. Observe the transparent slices of the brain, heart, feet and hands. Admire the bodies of the Runner, the Ballet Dancer, the Basketball Player and the Skin Man. What a great opportunity for everyone to see the human body for the beauty it is on the inside.

The Controversy

Despite the good intention of Body Worlds, when dealing with the display of dead bodies there, of course, unquestionably follows controversy of the use and misuse of the bodies. Are these exhibits an affront to the dead and the living? Are the bodies really donated or Jane Does? What do you think?

Ask yourself, would you donate your body to be put on display in the name of science? Do you know someone who would? If you’re dieing to go see the exhibit, exhibits are being held in Boston MA until January 7, 2007 and in Vancouver Canada until January 14, 2007. If you get nothing else from this exhibit, but inspiration to live a longer healthier proactive life, then perhaps these displayed bodies do save lives. It all depends on how you look at it. To go to the Body Worlds website, click here.

Oct 31, 2006
by Gloria Campos
Gloria Campos's picture

I liked the article, but

It left one thing unclear. Was Kate's trip to the exhibit worth it more than not?

Gloria Campos-Hensley