Tuesday, April 25, 2006
What would Aristotle Say?
Aristotle, like Plato, held that art was imitation. Unlike Plato, he thought there wasn't anything wrong with imitation; in fact, it is good.
What would he have thought of Gunther von Hagen's exhibit, Bodyworlds? See http://www.bodyworlds.com/en/pages/home.asp
The Franklin Institute Science Museum hosts "BODY WORLDS: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies" from October 7, 2005 through April 23, 2006.
Throughout the ages, medical scholars and students have strived to understand how our bodies function through exploration of real human specimens. BODY WORLDS, one of the most highly attended touring exhibitions in the world, takes this tradition one step further by presenting a new look at the human body.
The exhibition features more than 200 authentic human specimens, including entire bodies, individual organs and transparent body slices that have been preserved through the process of "Plastination," a technique that replaces bodily fluids and fat. BODY WORLDS offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see and understand our own physiology and health and to gain new appreciation and respect for what it means to be human.
The primary goal of the BODY WORLDS exhibits is health education. On the one hand, 200 individual specimens are used to compare healthy and diseased organs, i.e., a healthy lung with that of a smoker, to emphasize the importance of a healthy life-style. On the other hand, 25 life-like posed whole-body plastinates illustrate where in our bodies these organs are positioned and what we are: naturally fragile in a mechanized world.Thus, the exhibitions are targeted mainly at a lay audience to open up the opportunity to better understand the human body and its functions. The exhibits help the visitors to once again become aware of the naturalness of their bodies and to recognize the individuality and anatomical beauty inside of them. The authenticity of the specimens on display is essential for such insight. Every human being is unique. Humans reveal their individuality not only through the visible exterior, but also through the interior of their bodies, as each body is distinctly different from any other. Position, size, shape, and structure of skeleton, muscles, nerves, and organs determine our "interior face." It would be impossible to convey this anatomical individuality with models, for a model is nothing more than an interpretation. All models look alike and are, essentially, simplified versions of the real thing. The authenticity of the specimens, however, is fascinating and enables the observer to experience the marvel of the real human body. The exhibitions are thus dedicated to the individual interior face.