Body Worlds 2: A Biological Perspective

...writing this while it's still fresh...mm, corpses.

Okay...so I've seen plenty of little art comments about how the Body Worlds exhibit is beautiful and really opens a whole new perspective on the human body...but quite frankly, I could care less about any of that. A corpse is a corpse. Even better is when there's clearly something wrong with it, which is a perfect opportunity to exercise one's diagnostic skills (okay, one may have been watching a lot of 'House MD' right before...).

What Body Worlds does for biology is what Freud did for psychology: it offers a revolutionary new method of studying things. Instead of a rather smelly, bloodless, and colorless cadaver lying floppily spread out on a dissection table, it's possible to look at a human being in full color in dynamic poses, which offers a much better opportunity to understand the placement of the organ in the system. Along with virtual anatomy labs, Body Worlds could be used to train doctors and anyone else who really wants to understand anatomy. Granted, the insane dynamic poses would not be as useful in the classroom; however, the plastination would be totally fabulous. Mildly expensive? Perhaps. But what else is a university with a $4 billion yearly endowment going to do?

As for an actual review of the exhibit....
I totally loved having a chance to look at things like arteries that are so hard to preserve, generally; the dynamic poses of the people offered excellent opportunities to identify structures and essentially test my anatomical knowledge. The section with the fetuses was a bit disappointing, but there are probably ethical regulations about cutting open dead unborn babies, not to mention that it probably be kind of hard to plastinate them. (Would it? Does anyone know?)
It's highly entertaining to watch the people who think they have a definitive knowlege of anatomy and who are showing off to their 'layman' friends--and who are totally getting things wrong.
Since most of the people (obviously) died of visible diseases--the exceptions being the few old people--there was an excellent chance to see how obvious hemorraghing is, as well as cysts, tumors, etc. It kind of kills any excitement you might experience at seeing someone perform an autopsy, though.
The preservation of fat was incredible--it is, indeed, marbelized.
Anyway, totally awesome. I'm not entirely sure it's worth $18, especially since no photography is allowed, but if you're not familiar with anatomy already.... As it is, we got souvenirs anyway. Very cool stuff.

My two favorite things: the exploded man (think of it as an exploded diagram, but actually 3D) and the arterial web of a man's head--the lips were distinctively filled with a profusion of tiny arteries and the area where the brain would have been was very noticeably empty. Really drives the blood-brain barrier home.

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