by Eva Amsen

Gunther von Hagen has the scariest art/science exhibit currently touring the world. Twice. His Bodyworlds exposition attracted so many visitors over the years that a second tour, Bodyworlds 2, was added. One Bodyworlds exhibit is currently in Philadelphia until April 23, 2006. Bodyworlds 2 is in Toronto until February 26, 2006. More than 17 million visitors worldwide have currently visited one of the exhibits.


Gunther von Hagen invented “plastination” in 1977. This technique replaces body fluids with plastic, and enabled him to preserve and model human bodies. His models hold dynamic poses, allowing you to see organs and tissues from a unique angle, and more clearly than in a text book or from a static model. While these bodies in “action” might make you forget that you’re looking at real human bodies, other displays clearly remind you of this, for example plastified smoker’s lungs versus non-smoker’s lungs, or models showing different stages of pregnancy.

All models were once living people. Two hundred specimens have been used in the exhibitions, but more donors are still sought. If you’re not creeped out by the thought of being plastfied and displayed after death, you can sign up to be a donor through the Bodyworlds website.


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Shelley November 19, 2005 - 7:26 PM

It’s in Toronto when I’m there! I’ve always wanted to see this exhibition but it’s never been to NZ, so it has now jumped right to the head of my things to do list. Even above seeing the moose at the zoo. Yay!

Eva November 21, 2005 - 10:40 AM

I knew you’d want to see it, so I saved a flyer for you. I am scared of it, but I can be convinced to go along (it’s got great reviews, and I’ll probably regret it if I don’t go just because I don’t want to see someone’s insides.)

Shelley November 23, 2005 - 12:55 AM

I should warn you, I’m used to both insides and making inappropriate gross out comments 😀 I promise to be good though. Well, attempt to be good.

pim December 1, 2005 - 8:29 AM

it’s not that scary, you really forget that these are real people. But I am still not completely convinced about the ethics of all this. In any case I found it a bit more spectacle-oriented (poses) than really educational, although it really is interesting to see the amazing physiology of the human body and its organs.

A'miek December 21, 2005 - 5:24 AM

Shelly, can you watch for me too…
I left toronto the day it opened 🙁 I went to the science park the monday before it opened. At the desk they told me that it wasn’t open yet. Had to read the flyer better… ARGH! it took me more than an hour to get there for nothing!
Now I’m waiting for body worlds to come back to europe….sigh!

valerie January 28, 2007 - 6:41 PM

the body worlds is so cool when you see it . when you see it that is the inside of girl or mybe boys and the imax was so cool too because it looks real.

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