The University is sponsoring Body Worlds 3 this summer which is advertised as ‘edutainment’ and I have to say I’m a little unnerved by the whole thing. I don’t have a problem with cadavers being used for educational purposes but partially dissecting bodies in an artistic manner to sell as entertainment is over the top. What ever happened to respect for the dead?
This specific show will feature the bodies in athletic poses such as skateboarding or cycling to show different physiological features yet they don’t tell you if the specimen actually participated in the sport they’re portraying. Not matching actual athletes with their respective sport provides a false view therefore, proving this show is more about entertainment than education. Of course it gets worse.
One of the earlier Body Worlds exhibits displayed a woman’s body carved in such a manner as to show the fetus she was carrying when she died. That’s pretty grisly. Another example is this picture of a body entitled ‘The Smoker’.
Isn’t leaving the penis unskinned while the rest of the body is skinless a bit sensationalist? Especially considering you’re demonstrating the ill effects of smoking?
Then there are questions regarding the origins of these bodies and whether the specimens on display were actually fully informed donors. The company behind the exhibit refuses to show a direct paper trail between the donor forms and the actual bodies citing privacy of the donor. I find that disconcerting and unethical.
My conflict derives from the fact that I do believe the human body is a marvel of science and I can see the educational aspect and even the beauty of this exhibit if it showed respect for the dead (and had proof the people actually agreed to have their bodies used in this manner). Lose the sensationalist entertainment aspect I might change my mind. As it is, it just doesn’t sit right.
Am I overreacting?