Sunday, September 10, 2006

BodyWorlds 2 at the MOS

We took naps yesterday. It was good to nap, even if mine was only for a half hour. After our naps, we went to Boston to go see the BodyWorlds2 exhibit at the Museum of Science. And Sean -- I would have called you and told you to meet us there, if I had your number. If you haven't gone yet, as a medical professional, I think you should.

We had been looking forward to seeing this for a while. I thought that perhaps Geoff wasn't going to be able to process a lot of what he'd see but I was wrong. I was pleased to see his reactions. Doug rented one of those self-guided tour recorded things, and he listened at just about every station there was. He made "beep-boop-beep-pshrwwwwww!" noises when dialing in the three-digit code and hitting enter, which some people around him found entertaining.

He spent a great deal of time in the pregnant lady/baby room. Very fascinated with the embryos (unborn thingies is what he called them) and was very interested in the woman who was 5 months pregnant when she died. And very angry that she was a smoker who died while pregnant. I didn't anticipate that response from him at all, or that he'd notice or care really.

And he was mad at exhibits that didn't have three-digit codes for him to listen to.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding these presentations, from Chicago to Houston, NY to California. Is it ethical to take bodies and pose them like they are riding horses (equally dead and preserved) or slice them up in crazy formations (Drawer man, X-woman) and call it "art."

For the most part, the presentations were tastefully done and cool. The ones that sort of crossed the line were X-woman, who was posed with her ankles crossed and wrists crossed and she was cut up like a crazy fillet spreading in all directions, and Exploding Man, which was... a man's body which looked as if it had been exploded into a million pieces and each piece was flying away from the central explosion. I thought those were gross.

Drawer man was cool, because the cadaver/subject/body/dude was walking, with huge pieces of his thighs, arms, stomach, chest, and parts of his face pulled forward like drawers, to show you what was inside. Kind of neat.

All told, I didn't feel a visceral "oh my God this is wrong and gross" response the way some people do (if you google protest BodyWorks you'll find some really angry responses to the program). My favorite ones were the saggital subjects, cut from head to feet and arranged standing in strips moving from side to side -- really getting a good look inside the vertical presentation of the bodies was cool.

My least favorite part was listening to grown ups giggle about penises. Grow up, people. It's a friggin' penis. Get over it.

And I did dissect people with my eyes afterwards. Especially the couple in front of me at one point who found penises funny. He made fun of a rather small one. And at the next spot, she commented about how big this one was... and he said "well it's not that big. Really." He was being sort of defensive, and I then immediately knew how big his unit was. Making fun of one size, and then getting all defensive about his lady enjoying the site of the next size. And I walked around them the entire show wishing they'd go away because I wanted to stop imagining him in naked.

It was just wrong.

From an anatomy and physiology standpoint, the show is essential. Calling it "art," well. Not sure I would label it art. Anatomy and Physiology aren't subjective really; art is.

So Sean -- the museum has evening hours where your ticket gets you just into this show. It is like $16 bucks. You need to go. I highly recommend it.

As for the rest of you -- you make the call. If you're interested in what goes on inside, it is well worth the trip. If you find this stuff gross or are morally opposed to it, go and see if it changes your mind. Or don't, and just look at A&P textbooks when you need to see a pancreas.

Anyway -- this is getting posted late, I wanted to get this out earlier but. meh. You know me.

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