Friday, February 9, 2007


Collage of published images from the exhibition

A telephone booth ad that I saw on my way to work this morning reminded me about an exhibition that I've always wanted to see – BODIES THE EXHIBITION. So after work, I took the 6 subway train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall then walked to the newly refurbished exhibition center in the South Street Seaport which houses this fascinating and awe-inspiring display. This exhibition showcases real human bodies that have been skinned, dissected and preserved by treatment under vacuum with silicone or polymer that enters each tissue following acetone dehydration. The result is a captivating opportunity for visitors to see their own bodies and internal organs, and appreciate how they function. The exhibit starts with the skeletal system, followed in succession by the muscular, nervous, circulatory, digestive, respiratory, urinary and reproductive systems, and fetal development. Projected on the dark walls of the museum are artist’s illustrations of various cell types. Some of the more than twenty bodies are posed to perform activities like playing sports, or conducting an orchestra with reference to body systems involved in those tasks. The display of the blood vessels of the entire body and individual organs presented as “corrosion casts” is truly marvelous. These casts were prepared by exsanguination followed by infusing a colored polymer or resin into the vasculature penetrating even the tiniest vessels or capillaries. Treatment with a strong basic solution corroded the tissues away leaving the hardened polymer intact. Along the way, the exhibit also featured abnormal tissues including a stroked brain, fatty liver, gallbladder stones, various kinds of tumors and a cigarette smoker’s tarred lungs along with a strong quit-smoking advice splashed on the wall. This exhibit may not be for everyone, but it definitely has educational relevance for the young and old. There were allegations that the specimens procured through a Chinese medical college were unclaimed or unidentified remains of Chinese individuals. Therefore, neither the deceased nor their families consented to the use of the cadavers. Nevertheless, the exhibition is both enlightening and fascinating, and a reminder that we have the responsibility to take good care of our bodies. More information at


jon go said...

it gives me the creeps!!! lol

Noel Y. Calingasan said...

i's not for the squeamish.