Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Yesterday, my boyfriend and I went to see Bodies- The Exhibition downtown. We'd been talking about going for literally years; I hesitated because I felt uncomfortable about supporting something that consisted of many bodies, with no idea of where they came from, or if there was any consent by the dead people or their relatives. There's a disclaimer sign at the front of the line saying the bodies had all passed through the Chinese police at some time, and could be dead prisoners, the tone of which was basically "it's not our fault!"
There are eight of these exhibitions in the US and Canada. It would take a lot of bodies to make them possible. The presenter, Premier Exhibitions, also runs the "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" which is in the old Times building between 43rd and 44th Street. That truly strikes me as grave-robbing, and I will not see it.
Bodies is a lot of bodies. A souped-up version of those plastic models you had in biology class, that goes through the nervous system, circulatory system, skeletal and muscular systems, etc. Many bodies are sliced into pieces, and shot through with various colors of dye. There is, as Tom pointed out, a freak show element to all of this, particularly as two of the exhibits near the end are conjoined twins (with reference to Chang and Eng), and the biggest human thumb you've ever seen. The one exhibit that freaked me out was something I'd read about but never seen, a teratoma. It is a human cancerous growth that includes things that do not belong in it, namely hair and teeth. Now, granted, I looked at it three times (the third time was to write the name down), but, oh, man, that's just not right!