Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Field Trip! Body World in San Diego


So, the Body World tickets were The Husband’s birthday present, which was two weeks ago, and today is the 31st anniversary of our first date. Quite a day for us!

Hit some fog and a bit of traffic on our way down to SD but no sweat. I always enjoy the drive down there. Parking was a breeze, since we were at Balboa Park so early (we could have sold our space on the way out, though!). The weather was clear and gorgeous.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Body World, German anatomist Gunther von Hagen created a process, called Plastination, which preserves actual bodies that are willed to him for that purpose. Most are posed without skin, in order to show muscles and the nervous system. Some, like Drawer Man, have sections cut away to show different aspects of the body~in Drawer Man’s case, these sections are pushed out of the body, like a bureau drawer, so you can see them in context. There are also actual organs displayed, some healthy and some in differing states of disease. The “black lung” example was horrifying.

I thought I might absolutely hate this exhibit. I mean, actual bodies--yewwwwww! But most of the exhibits are so awe inspiring, to see what we look like inside. It was amazing but also showed how fragile we are. In light of the passing of Natasha Richardson from a seemingly harmless fall, this is overstatement.

Most of the bodies are, shall I say, anonymous but one in particular had enough skin on the face to give me goosebumps. This particular specimen was cut vertically in at least 8 or 10 pieces as a cutaway to show relationships within the body. There were still very short hairs on his head and you could actually see the wrinkles around his eye holes. Made me realize these really were REAL people, not great big Barbie’s and Ken’s.

The Husband had a goosebumps experience, too. He was examining the kid who’s posed upside down on a skateboard and without meaning to, he looked right into the kid’s eyes. Spooked him, I tell ya!

The only thing I took a miss on was the babies. I took a quick look at the pregnant woman but, sigh, that was tough enough. I’m sure the parents bequeathed their children in the spirit of educating and enlightening people but that was just too sad for me.

They also figured out a way to Plastinate the circulatory system and the nervous system as stand-alone exhibits. I know I bleed wherever I might prick myself but now I know why. I mean, I knew why, really, but to see how the circulatory system is so ubiquitous under our skin, geez louise!

So, if Body World comes to your town, or even a town 100 miles away, this exhibit is worth the drive and the money. It’s so fascinating and makes you think. I turned to The Husband when we were walking around Balboa Park afterwards and said “I know what you look like inside now.” And he said, “I was thinking the same thing about you.”

Go see how your body works!!

C’est la vie!

1 comment:

aliceinparis said...

I saw that exhibit too! It blew me away! Hard to wrap your mind around it. I was struck by how incredibly intricate our bodies are and it is a miracle that they work so smoothly.
I know the man you are talking about. It was eerie looking at him.I was fascinated by his tattoos too.
the pregnant woman was beautiful in a very surreal way. So sad.