Body Worlds 2: An Artistic Perspective

After a moderate amount of deliberation and a great deal of laziness (not to mention my computer being a little bitch), here is some information that might be more useful to people who are either interested in actually seeing the exhibit or to people who do not, in fact, give a shit about biology:

The exhibit is organized in segments. First, you see several artistically plastinated corpses that emphasize the underlying structure and art of the human body while allowing the layman to better understand how the human body is actually composed--which is, of course, the art. How do all those striated muscles and fibers and bones come together and merge so perfectly? An introduction to the world of the human body is given: examples of bones, diseases, artificial joints whose metallicity sharply contrasts the flesh.

Next--the flesh, a little more of the underlying structure, some fantastic arterial systems under blacklighting, and then--the organs. They are organized into sets: there's a section for the respiratory, the digestive, the nervous, the reproductive. While the more creative bodies line the walls (where there aren't interesting quotes and chronologically organized historical tidbits about death and corpses), the center is primarily devoted to actual understanding with examples of both diseased and healthy organs.

A separate room is given to what is the most controversial part of the exhibit, even more so than the penises and breasts (seriously, Americans are such prudes--I doubt one would have conceived of this exhibit in the form it is presented in and open to all ages). This is the room with the fetuses and dissected pregnant woman (like many of the other corpses, she was a smoker in her preternaturally terminated life).

The end of the exhibit could have just as easily been the beginning: once again, visuals are dominant over the more pragmatic biological aspects--corpses stop being cut open and start being put into rather ordinary poses--the ironic ice skating pose whose title had something to with death--and then you hit the gift shop which, if you shop carefully, isn't all that bad but really makes you wish that $18 actually allowed some photography. (Eeeh...arterial structure of head...exploded man...not fair! Why don't they make postcards of my two favorites?)

Anyway, it's important to remember that these are actual people you're looking at. I'm totally serious (for once)--pretending that what you're seeing couldn't be you really detracts. Also, it's a lot less cool if it's just plastic.

Not that everyone agrees with me. A thirteen-year-old from, naturally, Naperville complained about how he didn't need to know that those were actual people.

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