Seeing the insides come to the outsides.
I had the opportunity to see BODY WORLDS– the newest exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa.
The idea is: this guy, Gunther Van Hagens, invented this method for preserving bodies and body parts called plastination. BODY WORLDS displays real bodies using his plastination method. The exhibit is meant to educate viewers about the body, with a focus on the value of the heart.
Without looking at the rest of MOSI’s exhibits, a ticket into BODY WORLDS is $18.95. A heartbeat is heard upon entrance and echoes in the background. Tall black curtains guide viewers from one display to another. Because of the silence, curtains, and displays, I felt like I had entered an art exhibit instead. Beautiful is a good way to think of this.
There are about 20 full human bodies scattered througout. Each have no skin and display various parts of the body’s insides. The bodies are all posed in some normal activity– dancing, holding a bow, or kneeling. There are no wires or visible rods propping the bodies up, making the action seem so normal, if it wasn’t for the bodies having no skin. I have to admit, maybe it’s because I watch too much CSI, or have seen too many wax figures, but it was very hard for me to imagine that the bodies I saw on display used to be just living people you’d see at church or the mall. Maybe it was better if I didn’t think that or else I’d get sick or start crying. It’s crazy… some plastinates still had their eyelashes.
There are also lots of displays. There were hearts, aortas, lungs, lungs with cancer, lungs after smoking. There were lots of things to read, but each card was written in a friendly, simple language.
I wasn’t so sure what to think after I left the exhibit. Even art galleries leave you with an emotion. I guess I left the place wanting to be healthier because the beauty of the bodies I saw was that all the organs were a healthy bright color. Shoot, I worry about how I look on the outside a lot, my insides should look just as good. I don’t want to delve into the issue whether I think the display was ethical or not. The people all gave their permission, and the bodies were displayed respectfully.
I wasn’t allowed to take pictures, so these pictures are from the BODY WORLDS website.