Gunther von Hagen’s Body Worlds exhibition is currently at Fanueil Hall over in Boston, so we decided to check it out this past weekend. For those who aren’t familiar with Body Worlds, it features real, authentic human bodies, preserved through a special technique called Plastination. All of these bodies, of course, were donated with the informed consent of their respective owners.
Bodies donated by their owners…yeah, okay, so there’s probably no way to not make that sound weird. But on the bright side, it does mean that none of the nefarious antics of such b-horror movies as Stefan Ruzowitzky’s Anatamoie have taken place. Evidently, over 9000 people have volunteered to donate their bodies for Plastination, and Von Hagen goes to great efforts to ensure the anonymity of his body donors.
Still, it’s definitely a bit eerie when one first walks inside. But once one gets used to the idea that, yes, these are real human bodies, organs and skeletons, it’s an absolutely fascinating exhibit. That’s because Body Worlds isn’t something that’s been created to shock or horrify people; if anything, Body Worlds is a joyous celebration of the human body, showing a deep and thorough appreciation of the intricate way that every piece of the body fits together.
We really don’t give our bodies enough credit. It’s easy to understand why, of course; we inhabit these bodies every day, and put little thought into any of our astounding functions or senses until something goes wrong. But Body Worlds does a lot to make us look inward. It gives us a greater understanding of just how intricate every piece of us really is, and how all of those pieces work together as a team to create a unified whole. The body is an amazing thing, and exhibits like this one help us to appreciate just how miraculous it really is.
I highly recommend checking it out, if it’s in your area. For now, here are some pictures from the Boston exhibit: