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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 8:30 pm 
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I just found out about this exibit, and I'm kinda torn. I personally think the human body, in it's many forms, is an amazing and beautiful creation.

That said, while I think it would be a unique opportunity to see the reality of the human body, I also understand there are some serious ethical concerns with some of the exhibits that are out there. There are concerns about the industry such exhibits might create and whether the cadavers had proper releases and/or might be executed political prisoners. So, some serious concerns here!

On the web forum where I heard about this, attendees had a wide variety of feelings about what they saw and who attended. There's also the question of whether the exhibit is presented in an artistic or educational manner or if it's simply macabre. Most that attended said it was tastefully done, but that it could create some odd and unexpected reactions. Several said parents brought their small (toddler) aged children. 8O hmmmmm.....

Here are the websites and a brief intro on the two exhibits I know that are touring various museums:

http://www.bodieshuman.com/

Quote:
This unique exhibit is a display of over 100 authentic human specimens, including whole bodies, individual organs and transparent body slices preserved through a special process called plastination. It provides viewers with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to look inside the human body, and to see and understand our own anatomy and physiology. This will provide a new appreciation and respect for the human body and what it means to be human. It's an inside look at the human body and is designed to show how the choices we make affect our overall health.

http://www.bodyworlds.com/en/exhibitions/current_exhibitions.html


and here's one article discussing the controversy on where the bodies came from for this exhibit:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/08/business/worldbusiness/08bodies.html?_r=1&hp&ex=1155096000&en=c6a30b6ca56c7dd7&ei=5094&partner=homepage

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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 4:04 am 
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Ask Bill what his opinion is on this. He is quite enlightened to it - I'm serious and mean that in a good way.

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 Post subject: Great show. . .
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 10:41 am 
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During our trip to Germany, our group went to the first showing of this exhibition. At the time there was rumor that the exhibition was banned in USA.

If you get a chance to see it and you have a strong stomach, go . . .

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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 6:06 pm 
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Hitler held a "degererative" art exhibit which ridiculed Picasso and others now seen as greats.

So who decides what is bad art or good art and what we should see?

Image

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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 7:57 pm 
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Having only seen the items on the web, it does look like a fascinating exhibit presented in an artistic setting. Many folks I've seen have had very strong reactions to it, and stated that the arrangement was as much as part of it as the actual visuals...

Reminds me of going to the Holocaust musuem in DC. There were some intensely affecting displays, and the arrangement was set to heighten the emotional impact. i thought, for the most part, it was well done.

Now, there were a few points where I did definately "eye rolls" as I thought they were reaching just to have sheer impact in number of things to see (a couple of petrified trees from outside of racial ghettos?).

but two things still stay with me and this has been a few years:
one was standing inside one of the cattle cars used to transport people to the concentration camps. We were crowded, and the speaker advised us that 3x that many people were typically transported....it made me cringe.

The other was pictures from a town that was completely depopulated. They were everyday pictures, and one looked very much like me when I was a tiny girl. It simply hit me in a very personal and haunting way.

So art and education and science are definately in the eye of the beholder.

On the OP, my question was as much about folks' thoughts as it was about the controversy and if that changed your thoughts/impressions.

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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 8:06 pm 
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btw, thanks Fred, I never knew that interesting piece of history!

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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 9:39 pm 
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I saw a traveling exhibit (stays put for months) in Framingham, Massachusetts a few years ago. It was very impressive, quite educational, and rather expensive. My kids enjoyed it. They didn't seem bothered by anything. The exhibit was designed not to be macabre, rather more like a still glimpse of life rather than of death, a 3-D super-MRI, if you will. However, a respectful demeanor was specifically urged at the door.

Some time after, I heard of alleged improprieties (possible lack of proper consent). I hope that sort of thing has been resolved because in principle I think it's a wonderful educational exhibit. If a person feels they cannot stomach it, I think they should actually try to desensitize themselves so that they can appreciate the human form for what it really is, not just for what it looks like on the outside.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:03 am 
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I think venues like this are good for us. They're optional, they're educational, and most of all they help our society get used to death. It is tragic, painful, and extremely expensive to have to educate people what seems like every time someone has an obviously terminal condition that death is unavoidable and that getting ground to bits in the ICU is not the brightest way for us to confront it on an individual or societal way. I can actually recall a FEW individuals who WERE ready to die, didn't want fancy torture techniques when it was their time, knew their cancer would eventually get them, accepted bad news even when it came earlier than they expected, etc. "Dying" is not the time to see if that unknowable God is going to grant you a miraculous pardon if we keep you in a coma one more day on life support.

This kind of mess comes from not dealing with death. We ship it to the hospital, we pretend it doesn't happen, we prettify it, we make light of it in our violent movies, and for most people I meet, being with a dying or dead person is a crazy new experience. We used to die in our houses and kids would participate in the experience of their grandparents then parents dying. Now we're ignorant--and when confronted with the new and trying at maximal stress, decision making fails in major ways.

Sigh.

Get living wills and health care proxies, people!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:50 am 
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Ian,
whether this was prompted by a sharp new experience or the continuous, canyon-making of repetition, you have my hand in agreement , gratitude, & compassion.
Having lost my mother at 16, I learned that death is simply part of the cycle of living...making truly living more important and death a spur to always tell folks how I feel about them.
So many of the poorer reactions you mentioned are rooted, IMHO, in guilt, regret, fear, & selfish need.
I'm a BIG supporter of living wills, living fully, & always sharing how you feel with those you love...NOW.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:35 pm 
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It's continuous experience, unfortunately.... the only standout semi-recently was a woman with a fatal lung disease who got a transplanted set of lungs, lived with them a few years (5 is average), then got an incurable acute leukemia and a series of bad infections. When the last one hit, she went to the ER with her husband and a game plan: be comfortable, no antibiotics, anything else would have represented denial. Luckily I knew them from previous admissions so they could deal with someone familiar, and she passed peacefully in less than a day. People who take this road usually have lived as if time were short rather than if those important experiences, conversations, and actions could all be deferred.

The next step is documentation of your wishes that is immune to interference from family. Family may not share your values, they may not know your wishes, they may not be able to take difficult action under pressure. We all should have the right to donate our organs and direct the care of our final moments without others having veto powers after we lose the ability to speak for ourselves. California has such a program, I don't know about elsewhere.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:43 pm 
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Have you ever seen the movie "Wit" (2001, made for HBO, Emma Thompson starring)?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:51 pm 
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I haven't seen it, but our medical school uses it for 4th year education, before student's internships start. I've heard good things though. I help with the difficult discussions, conflicts, and ethics education at the med school but my schedule hasn't been open during the showing for students.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:58 am 
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I can understand the special interest a doctor might have in it--with their proverbial doctor hat on, as it were. However, I found it quite wonderful apart from that.

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