September 12, 2009

Copulating corpses.

The science exhibit.

It is one thing to ask whether dead bodies should be plastinated and dissected to various levels and posed and displayed for the public and another to ask whether the parts to be displayed and the poses can be sexual. But...
The way a plastinate is exhibited can vary from country to country to reflect local sensibilities. A vote of local employees decided that one of the copulating female cadavers should wear fewer clothes in Zurich than was the case in Berlin.

"Switzerland is the first country that already said from the outset that we could show whatever we wanted," said [Gunther] von Hagens.

"Zurich is ready ... but it's maybe not so easy in every other town," he said. "We have discussed whether it is proper to show homosexuality and in what way. This is a very delicate subject."
... it is quite another matter to conform the display to local preferences and prejudices that require different degrees of exposure for the male and the female and restrictions about different kinds of sexual activity. Just because something is a "delicate subject" doesn't mean you have to track local taste — especially when your whole enterprise challenges convention.

29 comments:

daubiere said...

only a german could conceive a roadshow of copulating corpses.

do they have any shitting corpses??

most of his corpses come from china, by the way. hmmm....




verification word: subpoo

subpoo??!?

you just can't make such things up.

bagoh20 said...

There in nothing terribly out of place doing it or the poo one, since it is just part of the science. BUT, it's completely gratuitous and unnecessary. Nobody needs to see either. We already know what it would look like, we've visualized since childhood. We've already seen it all too, just not from this angle. It's just another case of: :Do you really have to do that just because you can?" I can live without it. The show is amazing to see though. I would go again.

EDH said...

Now that might liven-up the next sequel to Night at the Museum.

LarsPorsena said...

Necrophilia has no nationality

Bissage said...

Personally, I like the idea of looking at ordinary things – like humans -- in a detached, scientific sort of way.

This is why getting in touch with my inner anthropologist makes me wonder why “copulating female cadavers” in Zurich and Berlin are wearing any clothing at all.

I mean, what sort of people copulate while wearing clothing?

Ah, yes! I’ve got it!

Once again, B. Kliban makes it all clear. LINK.

wv = abily. And boy, oh boy, do they ever do it abily!

Nickie Goomba said...

The scientific value is justifiable. The shock value is certainly obvious and understandable. But using the exhibits as dress-up dolls turns my stomach.

Joe said...

This has no scientific value, but it will sell tickets. Hurray for capitalism. (I suppose you could say that in this instance capitalism is dead.)

Father Martin Fox said...

Revolting.

Is it really true that someone cannot create truly humanlike models, made of plastic or whatever, and pose them in whatever odd, banal, or naughty fashion one wishes? Is it truly necessary to use actual human bodies?

"Oh, but no one would come just to see mannequins--even really good ones."

Exactly--that's what makes this obscene. And I don't mean because they're shown copulating or evacuating, although these would be, by classic definition, obscene.

It's a whole other level of repulsive to use the remains of ones fellow human beings as a carnival sideshow tarted up as pseudo science.

Suppose these were folks who died from Katrina? How about taking body parts gathered from the site of the World Trade Center--maybe we could have different hands playing cards. How droll!

Paco Wové said...

Oddly enough, this made me think of Fred Phelps and his "church"'s picketing -- "Our behavior isn't shocking and upsetting people enough! We must become more outrageous!!"

Terry said...

How odd. I just ran across this piece of art on another blog this morning. http://www.redbubble.com/people/concretekissed/art/3340631-3-ageless-beauty

I hated the Body Worlds exhibit. Creepy, but worse, just so unhuman. Eck.

Fred4Pres said...

Rather strange, like those stuffed frogs they used to sell in human poses, only we are using people now and putting them in sexual positions.

I can't see paying to see that.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I agree with Father Martin.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Coputlation is an activity. I don't see how dead people can be actively copulating.

I agree with Bissage about the clothing as well. With the exception that "you can leave your hat on".

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I also agree wholeheartedly with Father Martin.

Disgusting.

Methadras said...

I personally do not understand the morbid nature of a show like this. What's the distinction of looking Gray's Anatomy for instance versus going to see actual human bodies plastinated and now posed into sexual positioning? I don't get it and I doubt I ever will, however, the macabre nature of it is what makes me not want to experience such a thing. To me this is the continuation of treating humans and humanity and equating them to the level of animals.

ricpic said...

The photographer Robert Frank, who was born in Switzerald and got the hell out said: How can one be Swiss?

But they do make a nice chocolate in Zurich.

deiterkirkbride said...

how can this in any way be considered art or "normal"? It is simply the hyper id pushing boundaries as far as possible.

Henry said...

Are corpulating corpses a more delicate subject than corpulating non-corpses?

If they want to push the envelope, have they discussed showing necrophilia?

MnMark said...

"Zurich is ready ... but it's maybe not so easy in every other town," he said. "We have discussed whether it is proper to show homosexuality and in what way. This is a very delicate subject."

Yes I'm sure it's a very delicate job being on the frontlines of tearing away every last vestige of sexual propriety and dignity. When one simply must show copulating skinned plasticized corpses, and when one so very much wants to reach all the way beyond the very last shreds of taboo in society, one must be careful to push it just as far as possible without actually arousing any latent sense of decency in the viewer. The process of dulling and desensitizing society's sensibilities is no job for an amateur!

And once we've managed to get away with showing a couple of skinned, plasticized male corpses posed in an act of anal sodomy, and once we've moved to the point where we can get away with showing this to schoolchildren without anyone so much as blinking, perhaps we'll move on to bestiality...don't know yet. Maybe bestiality, maybe we'll just pose a corpse in the act of squatting to take a dump. A big fat old ugly corpse, squatting and taking a plasticized dump right in front of the entrance to thge exhibit so it's the first thing people see. That would definitely also be sensitive work...we're not sure that even Zurich is "ready for that" yet.

All we know is that we have a sacred mission to shit on every last traditional concept of decency. Why? Because we know that humans are nothing but purposeless molecules banging around according to the laws of physics, and this makes us feel empty inside, and so we need to make everyone else feel empty inside too. That way we get our revenge on the world.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

Concerning bestiality: Maybe a corpse could be shown copulating with one of Damien Hirsch's formaldehyde sharks. I'm sure that would fill the galleries.

Henry said...

Hmmm. I inadvertantly wrote "corpulating" above instead of "copulating." I guess it works.

Richard Dolan said...

Copulating corpses in Switzerland? The same place that gave us Calvin? Not exactly progress, but definitely a change of pace.

traditionalguy said...

The science gives us knowledge that we need, but science should not ignore the respect for Human Beings conferred upon them by their creator God. If all respect for man is intentionally thrown out, then we will lose all joy in living our lives and become mere animals. Sex can be taught better by living men and women.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Von Hagens said he and some other body donors even saw plastination as an alternative to burial or cremation, giving them more certainty about would happen to their bodies after death.

"Cremation for me is hell," he said.


Hm.

...Well, anyway, I wondered if all of the corpses he uses are of people who gave informed consent. Has he got their signatures on file somewhere, giving him permission to do exactly as he is doing? Sex and all?

If his corpses come from China, are the corpses of people who were executed for being political dissidents? If so, every single person who has supported this thing by paying money to see the exhibit should be ashamed.

Megaera said...

Terry - I wonder if your artist was familiar with Sir Thomas Beecham, who professed a loathing for the harpsichord and described it as sounding like two skeletons copulating on a tin roof?

And, on a completely different track, yes, it is my understanding that some of the corpses were acquired from the Chinese government, being executed criminals. For which term we may certainly comprehend, dissidents, I believe.

Clyde said...

It used to mean when they said that you were "screwed for all eternity" that you were going to Hell, figuratively. Now it means you're going on tour, literally.

Mmmmmm... Would it be Heaven, Hell or Houston to be permanently memorialized screwing for all eternity but not able to enjoy it?

And the gay version sounds like Sam Kinison's necrophilia at the morgue routine. "Oh! Ohhhhhhhh!"

Windbag said...

We took our kids to see the Body Works exhibit. The internal organs and circulatory system things were neat. However, the people on horseback and other stuff at the end really bothered my kids and me. My wife, her parents, and my sister-in-law were fascinated by the people posed in various everyday and athletic stances. I took the kids out and we waited for them to finish up. I won't comment on any morality of the exhibit, it was simply creepy to me.

amba said...

Imagine: copulating in perpetuity!