Thursday, November 30, 2006

Body Worlds!

Are you one of the 20 million people who’ve seen the Body Worlds exhibit? Writing is my first love, but secretly I’m a science junkie. I often compare scientist to writers—we’re all trying to observe the world and learn something about it from what we see. Body Worlds is a science exhibit that’s been touring the world since 1995 and it features actual human bodies that have been “plastinated,” which means the water and fats in the body are replaced with plastic. The bodies look completely preserved, and you can see all the systems and organs of the human body. I’ve seen pictures in books, on television, and even plastic models of the human body, but I’ve never seen the insides of a real human being. I think it will be amazing!

Of course, maybe you’ve heard the exhibit can be pretty controversial. Some people say that it’s disrespectful to display people’s bodies after they’ve died, even if they’ve given their permission. Also, a lot of the bodies are “in action” and some of the actions are pretty stereotypical of women and men—a pregnant woman lying down, a ballerina, and a woman who looks like she’s wearing stilettos, while the men are featured as strong, smart, and active: “The Runner,” “The Swordsman,” and “The Chess Player.”

The Body Worlds exhibit in Saint Paul, Minnesota closes this weekend and moves to Dallas. The exhibit is so popular that the Science Museum will be open 24-hours a day until it closes on Sunday night. So, this Saturday morning I’m not sleeping in. I’m going on a 4am field trip to the Science Museum of Minnesota. If you’re there, look for me in my pajamas, carrying a notebook in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other—and feel free to give me a nudge if I’m snoring during the Omnitheater movie.

Have you already seen the Body Worlds exhibit in your city? What did you think? Will I wish for my beauty sleep, or will I be glad I braved the wee hours to see the 200 plasticized bodies? What do you think about the controversy around the exhibit?

1 comment:

Sophie said...

Hi! I live nowhere near Minnesota (it's Canada for me, eh?) but I have heard about plastination. In fact, I had to give my judgement about it in an article last year, in which was discussed whether these bodies should be plastinated or not if they had been donated to medical research. I thought that the two sides to the issue were that a) - People might have wanted their organs to have been donated to patients in need, instead of plastination, and b) - That plastination should really be considered medical research as well, because it helps many people learn about the human body. I think I mostly go with Opinion B, though. I hope I get to see a plastinated body someday, I think it would be really cool!