Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hey kids! Is it Art? Is it dead bodies? It's both!

{{{{{{I just ran across this. While I'm on the subject, here are some links and a few comments about the Body Worlds Exhibit that's in Denver right now--I put together this post a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted to do more research, but it's all I can do right now.:}}}}}}

Brought to you by Dr. Gunther von Hagen.

I went and saw this exhibit. I'm still formulating my reaction to it. I'm trying to separate the gross-out factor from the exploitation factor.

But I have to say there's something sick about letting kids see flayed plastinated bodies of other kids. Here is a summary of legal accusations from wikipedia:

Von Hagens has a guest professorship from Dalian Medical University and a honorary professorship from Bishkek State Medical Academy. In publications, he often uses the title "Professor". In 2003, the University of Heidelberg initiated legal action against him, claiming that he had misrepresented himself as a professor from a German university in a Chinese document, and that he had failed to state the foreign origin of his title in Germany. After a trial, he received a fine in March 2004. On April 25, 2005, a Heidelberg court sentenced him to a fine of 108,000 euros (equivalent to a prison term of 90 days at the daily income assessed by the court) for one count of using an academic title that he was not entitled to, but acquitted him on four other counts.

In 2003, an animal rights organization filed a complaint alleging that von Hagens did not have proper papers about a gorilla he had plastinated. He had received the cadaver from the Hanover Zoo, where the animal had died. German authorities demanded the removal of the gorilla during the 2004 exhibition in Frankfurt, but von Hagens prevailed in court and the animal was restored.

Hamburg prosecutors investigated charges of disturbing the dead, based on his photographing plastinated corpses late at night all over Hamburg.

There were legal proceedings against von Hagens in Siberia regarding a shipment of 56 corpses to Heidelberg.

In October 2003, a parliamentary committee in Kyrgyzstan investigated accusations that von Hagens had illegally received and plastinated several hundred corpses from prisons, psychiatric institutions and hospitals in Kyrgyzstan, some without prior notification of the families. Von Hagens himself testified at the meeting; he said he had received nine corpses from Kyrgyzstan hospitals, none had been used for the Body Worlds exhibition, and that he was not involved with nor responsible for the notification of families.

In January 2004, the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that von Hagens had acquired some corpses from executed prisoners in China; he countered that he did not know the origin of the bodies and went on to cremate several of the disputed cadavers. German prosecutors declined to press charges, and Von Hagens was granted an interim injunction against Der Spiegel in March 2005, preventing the magazine from claiming that Body Worlds contain the bodies of executed prisoners.

In February 2004, the German Süddeutsche Zeitung confirmed earlier reports by the German TV station ARD that von Hagens had offered a one-time payment and a life-long pension to Alexander Sizonenko if he would agree to have his body transferred to the Institute of Plastination after his death. Sizonenko, reported to be the world's tallest man at 2.48 m, formerly played basketball for the Soviet Union and is now plagued by numerous health problems. He declined the offer.


error said...

it's really a remarkable show. but, don't go out for chicken afterwards.

sarcasmus said...

Are you kidding me? You aren't doing a vegetarian switcheroo on me? Because I could put you in touch with a thousand red and suppurating cow tits to the contrary.