December 2008

The Bodies Exhibit: A Review 
 
By Laurie Caro
 
 
 
I went to see the BODIES exhibit today. Here's the website in case you 
don't know what it is: http://www.bodiestheexhibition.com/intro.html - 
and a short blurb from their site to give you an idea:
 
"This Exhibition--which features actual human specimens--allows people 
of all ages access to sights and knowledge normally reserved only for 
medical professionals. Take the opportunity to peer inside yourself, to 
better understand how your elaborate and fascinating body works, and how 
you can become a more informed participant in your own health care."
 
I really didn't know whether I would like this exhibit or not - I just 
knew I would go sometime. I put it off several times and after about a 
year finally went.
 
The bodies were incredible to say the least, and my mind is still 
absorbing the experience in drips and drabs - kind of like photos coming 
into focus and becoming real.
 
I saw what tuberculosis can do to your lungs, and when coughed up & 
swallowed, what it can do to your intestines.  I saw the arteries from a 
heart with plaque build up. I saw the holes in lungs that emphysema 
causes, full blown lung cancer, breast cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, 
and what your brain looks like after a stroke.
 
My favorite part of the exhibition was the room that held the blood 
vessels / circulatory system encased in liquid - the red arteries and 
the veins contrasting with the blackness of the room was amazing.
 
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There was a full body of just arteries & veins, along with the veins of 
various body parts. I also liked the display of the brain with spinal 
cord attached.
 
I chose to pass on by the intestines display.
 
Keeping in mind that the bodies were real people and not props, I am 
amazed at how much they were not only that, but truly works of art. 
Something I cannot explain, but that you need to see for yourself to 
appreciate.
 
I was told that the bodies were from China and were donated or 
unidentified. It feels strange to have seen, literally, inside a person 
- their most intimate details, at times their physiological strengths 
and weaknesses all witnessed after their death, and not know a thing 
about them in their life.
 
Some are displayed playing basketball, conducting music, running, 
playing baseball, holding hands or just standing there. I guess it 
doesn't matter who they were before, they are infamous now and seem to 
live on. And I'm glad to have met them after all.
 
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