As a connoisseur of body parts...
February 16, 2013 8:37 AM   Subscribe

The Plastinarium of Dr. von Hagens - A view into the world of plastic corpses.
posted by blue_beetle (9 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I saw Body Worlds in Vancouver, and was simultaneously impressed and disappointed. The poses into which the bodies have been plastinated really do demonstrate something about how the body works, how it fits together and how complex an entity it is. At the same time, the plastination process leaves things looking a bit dessicated, and combined with the posing, the whole thing has this 'uncanny valley' effect where it looks not quite real.
posted by fatbird at 10:12 AM on February 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's all too real to me.
I wrote a letter of complaint to my local when they splashed an image over the front page.
I have hard time with this issue, so much so I was pleased when it emerged he was getting corpses from China under dubious circumstances. I guess those complaints vanished.
posted by Mezentian at 10:20 AM on February 16, 2013

There's a definite difference between seeing them in the flesh, and as a photo. The photos look gruesome and horrific, but the bodies look plastic and inert in person.
posted by BobsterLobster at 10:30 AM on February 16, 2013

I went to a free 4am Project photo shoot at the Birmingham, UK Bodies Revealed It was a pretty shabby setup. It's conceptually interesting but the execution really felt like it was done on the cheap ( and the exhibit tickets were not ).
posted by srboisvert at 10:43 AM on February 16, 2013

It's worth pointing out that there are several copycat exhibitions making the rounds, too. The Bodies Revealed exhibit that srboivert mentions is one of those, as was the "Our Body: The Universe Within" show that was here in Chicago a while back. These copycat exhibitions seem much less picky about where their bodies come from, and, as a result, have run into significant problems exhibiting in the past -- the allegation here was that the preserved figures were the bodies of executed Chinese death row inmates.
posted by orthicon halo at 11:03 AM on February 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

In fiction, the film Anatomie, where surprise plastination is the work of the Anti-Hippocratic Society.

Hagens' work can really be quite impressive. One display I saw was an entire circulatory system, and only the circulatory system.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:33 AM on February 16, 2013

Unfortunately most of von Hagens's arrangements have a freakshow aesthetic.
But that circulatory system floating in crystal is as powerful as anything I've seen in a museum.
posted by nixt at 1:27 PM on February 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Von Hagens can arrange his corpses in a mock coitus

posted by Halloween Jack at 1:34 PM on February 16, 2013

I find this pretty creepy.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:28 PM on February 16, 2013

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