We went to Bodyworlds 2 this weekend at the Tech Museum; even though it’s been here since September 27th, we kept putting it off until (typically) we realized “Holy crap! It’s only here for another week!” Apparently many others also felt the same way, because in spite of the extended hours * there was a line around the block to get in. We luckily arrived at a good time (when the line was only starting to go ‘round the block) and only had to wait for about an hour, but the show was worth it. Really, really fascinating stuff.

In case you haven’t heard about it or are too lazy to click the link, the show is plastinated bodies. It’s a fantastic fusion of art and science; all the bodies are arranged like sculptures but all illustrating various medical and/or anatomical things. It was very easy to get fascinated by how all the muscles and organs look, and fit together**, and then your focus would be caught by an untrimmed toenail or a bit of body hair, and the fact that these were once real live people would leap to the forefront of your realization once again. The display included a really respectful display about donating one’s body to medical research, and why people do it. So yeah, staring at corpses was the highlight of our weekend. How about you?

Speaking of death, I just found out that George MacDonald Fraser died on January 2nd. He was one of my favourite authors, and I highly, highly, recommend all his books. The Pyrates is in my personal Top Ten Books Of All Time list, and if you know how much I read you know how fierce the competition is. The Flashman series is the only reason I know anything about Victorian history, and the McAuslan trilogy still makes me laugh out loud at every reading, and Mr. American still has the only paragraph I’ve even encountered that actually made me jump in fright when I read it. Rest in peace, Mr. Fraser.

* Eight AM to midnight; apparently there are a few Tzmisce on the board of directors.

** I was just reading about someone who couldn’t sleep at night unless he convinced himself that he had no internal organs at all; that if cut in half, the inside of his body would resemble a potato.


  1. Terry said...

    We went to that show while we were in Vegas and really enjoyed it. Just amazing. Having said that, most of the people they use do not "donate their body to science" in the way you or I think. Most bodies donated to science in the Western world are not ideal for that kind of process. The preference is young, healthy males. So they mostly use the bodies of Easterners, folks like Chinese prisoners. You see, if you die in prison (or are executed) in China, the State owns your body, so they can donate it to whomever pays the most. So yes, all the bodies used in the exhibit were donated to science. But in most cases, the person who inhabited that body was not the one who made that decision.

    Linkage: "Fury as corpse show comes to UK"

    "Hongjin's record has been called into question in the past. In 2004 he and von Hagens were accused of using the bodies of political prisoners in a similar exhibition, Body Worlds - charges which they denied. They did, however, return seven bodies from their exhibition to China after two were found to have bullet holes in the back of their heads."  

  2. Paul said...

    We saw it here about 3 years ago. Well worth the money. Did the SFC show have the man on a horse? I think that's their most impressive work but it wasnt over here - I suspect shipping the thing was a tad expensive.  

  3. Amy said...

    Terry: The ones that had visible identifying racial traits all looked Caucasian to me. There are two shows out there, the one in that article you linked which is by the Chinese guy (Hongjin) and "BodyWorlds", which is by the German guy who invented the technique (von Hagens). The German show is apparently better done, FWIW.

    Paul: Yeah, I think the guy on the horse, and the guy holding his own skin, were in BodyWorlds 1. This was the sequel, and I think it was more designed for traveling.  


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