Saturday, November 18, 2006
Time to get back to my blog … otherwise I will miss a lot of interesting things that happens.
Today I went to see the famous Gunther von Hagens very famous “Body Worlds” exhibition at the Science World in Vancouver.
Gunther von Hagens, a political dissident in east Germany (he was imprisoned and released after a $20,000 payment by the West German government) discovered in the early ‘80s Plastination: a technique that “makes it possible to preserve individual tissues and organs that have been removed from the body” (http://www.bodyworlds.com/en/plastination/plastination_process.html)
This allows him to use real bodies as educational tools to showcase and to intuitively understand the complex mechanism that is our bodies. The result is breathtaking. The exhibition has hundreds of items from real bodies showcasing various muscle groups or nervous system to plasticized organs. There is a wide range of messages being delivered to the view. The first one is purely educational. He uses the technique as a very powerful visual tool of the most hidden places in our body. The meticulosity of the models is amazing. There is also a strong message of self-awareness. On the one hand it is intimidating to see the immense complexity of our bodies; it makes you want to take better care of this very nice piece of machinery. On the other hand, it provides very graphic images of; let’s say a lung of a smoker or a liver of a drinker which will make even the most avid smoker and drinker to think twice before the next cigarette or bottle of beer. It also shows visually effects of fat and diet, although not nearly enough, especially for a north American audience.
Last but not least, this is indirectly the ultimate artistic expression of God’s creation. The color, the texture, the poses, the millions of pieces of tissue, bone and muscles that come together to make us what we are, is beautiful and very powerful on many levels.
To wrap up, I give very enthusiastic thumbs up. I spent 2.5 hours and I will probably go to see it again until it leaves Vancouver in January.