Sunday, October 24, 2010

So, how much is a big toe?

Sometimes I just HATE being right. A few months back, several of my co-workers were very excited about getting together to go see the "BodyWorlds" exhibit then in town. Fascinating! A great chance to learn. Yes, well, I will admit to learning a thing or two while watching, "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover". Not that I'd recommend it. I wouldn't recommend "BodyWorlds" either.

There is something to be said for the "ewww" factor that makes us recoil at certain things - dead bodies on display for your viewing pleasure being one of those things. But we are so very deadened, many of us don't even recognize the tiny whisper of an "ewww" any longer. Christianity has always held a respect for the human body and while some still object to autopsies for the sake of medical students learning anatomy, most of us would agree that putting plastinized bodies on public display is just plain wrong. It's disrespectful, its voyeuristic.

Now I know this isn't a full-fledged argument, it's merely a reflection, a caution. I have found the exhibits disturbing since the first time I heard about them. I just didn't trust a man who would make a fortune in this way. And where, so many ask, did he get the bodies? According to this story, some of them were Chinese prisoners, as the speculation had run. Not only that, but a German exhibition of the bodies included poses of corpses in flagrante. Which is why I hate being right sometimes - the whole project always struck be as being akin to necroporn.

But now the corpses are for sale. A head goes for approximately $35,000, an entire body for nearly $100,000. No need to worry. Mr. von Hagen protests that only, "scientists and medical experts" will be "eligible" to buy them.


vielleur said...

> some of them were Chinese prisoners

I wondered why so many were Asian in the ads I'd seen.

> the whole project always struck be as being akin to necroporn.

Yes, but Kamilla, in the German exhibition, "the models gave their consent to the pose," so it's okay and they're not being exploited. Speaking of voyeuristic, I can't help but wonder how that consent came about. It's the next step past the ho-hum of watching living people pretending to do in the movies, I suppose. Yeah, they gave their consent, and they're not "really" doing it, so what's the problem watching?

Thank you your wise words of caution in this post. Our society really does tend to deaden our senses through over stimulation at all levels. We justify and rationalize indulging in way too much of it. A little more innocence would do us all some good.

And then there is the behind the scenes of the whole affair, which you expose. Selling plasticized body parts? I wonder if you can custom order a certain pose? How about a skinned ballerina? Wouldn't that be lovely?

I haven't seen this exhibit. The billboards are graphic and disturbing enough for me. Dissected corpses are one thing, but posing them as if they were in motion is really creepy. People in our clueless society need to know that corpses stink and that that they don't play basketball. Something more important is on the agenda then -- the judgment.

Snoopy said...

Found your blog through LAF. I just wanted to say, I TOTALLY agree with you. Doing this is very wrong.

I haven't seen the exhibit, but I saw Martha Stewart holding a human heart from the exhibit on TV once, and I just wanted to throw up. This guy is freaking weird and does not deserve one red cent.

Kamilla said...


Welcome - and thank you so much for the kinds words!