Wednesday, February 17, 2010

You Get Under My Skin

In 2005 when The Franklin Institute hosted the original Body Worlds exhibit, I missed it. Now it's back in Philadelphia and today I got my chance to see it. All I can say is wow! It's awesome.

BODY WORLDS 2 & The Brain is an exhibition of real human bodies that has traveled all over the world; this particular exhibit focuses on the latest findings on brain development and function. The bodies are posed in lifelike, dramatic scenes. There are healthy and unhealthy organs, body slices, a dissection of the nervous system and much more.

The specimens are all preserved through a remarkable process called Plastination. Gunther von Hagens invented the technique in the 1970's at the University of Heidelberg. Body Worlds, and Von Hagens himself, were featured in the 2006 film Casino Royale. One of the exhibits was a Poker Playing Trio (not in this exhibit).

At first, the purpose of Plastination was purely scientific to educate medical students but there was so much interest from laypeople that he was inspired to create public exhibitions, but with a heightened sense of aesthetics to capture the imagination. People have donated their bodies, allowing us to be educated about health and anatomy. It's a great way to gain a better understanding of the human body.
The video below is not of the exhibit I saw today, but it's close enough to get a good idea of what you would see.


JP said...

Sure beats those old Biology books from back in the day with the colored clear plastic printed pages that you layered up to see the body organs. This exhibit is quite amazing, if it's in your area go see it.

Denise Golinowski said...

How amazing and disturbing. And I mean that in a positive way. We tend to take this miraculous construction for granted. I will definitely make sure I see it if it ever gets out my way. Thanks for the post.

Rachel Lynne said...

Gale, this was at a museum in Orlando (I think) when we were there a couple of years ago for a convention. I had my 6 year old with me and wondered if it was appropriate so we didn't go, wish I had. Denise is right, it is disturbing and a bit creepy but artistic at the same time. The daughter is 9 now so I'll watch for it to come to Ga.
Great post!

Gale Stanley said...

Denise there were lots of school kids there, but I think they were older than nine. They came with lists of questions and study guides and really seemed to get a lot out of it.