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May 4, 2005

Cadaver Exhibition

"The Universe Within," a traveling show using human corpses that have undergone plastination, is touring America. Though these exhibits are for the purposes of education, they raise some ethical questions.

The corpses in all the exhibits were preserved through "plastination," which replaces body fluids with liquid plastic. The plastic is hardened, leaving tissues intact. Bodies can then be displayed without formaldehyde or glass containers, so onlookers can come within inches of exposed organs.

The proliferation of such shows raises questions: Are they art, exploitation or science? Do they speak to our innate fascination with the human body, a voyeuristic desire for a cheap thrill or our fear of death?

Some visitors aren't searching for an artistic experience but practical knowledge - medical students and massage therapists at the San Francisco exhibit said they were seeking a deeper look at the human body.

Posted by linda at May 4, 2005 12:34 PM

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