’Our Body’ exhibition banned in France
2010 09 20

By Priscille LaFitte | France24.com


France’s highest court has held up two previous verdicts banning the "Our Body: The Universe Within" exhibition, making France the first country to ban the controversial human body expo.

The highest judicial authority in France has definitively banned the exhibition “Our Body: The Universe Within”, upholding two previous court decisions that raised concerns over the striking expo that showcases actual human body parts, organs and skin.

The ruling is significant both because banning exhibitions in France is a rarity, and because it makes France the first country to chase out “Our Body". The exhibition has enjoyed successful runs in the United States and Germany.

“Our Body” uses a technique of polymer impregnation, developed by the German anatomist Gunther von Hagens, that precisely preserves human tissues down to the cell level and cancels putrefaction. It has stunned visitors with its detailed display of intertwining human body systems.

The exhibition was presented to French audiences, first in Lyon and Marseille in the spring of 2008, then in Paris in February 2009, before running into legal troubles.

Body of evidence

Soon after their arrival, the origins of the bodies became a matter of debate in France. Two organisations, “Together against the death penalty” and “Solidarity China”, said they suspected the bodies came from the Chinese prison authority, and not from Hong Kong medical schools, as “Our Body” producer Studio 2 Productions claims.


The exposed body parts and organs are so perfectly preserved, the two rights organisations argued, that they must have been delivered just moments after death. Another observation brought forth by the two groups was that the bodies show no evidence of serious pathology that could have caused immediate death.

The critics of the expo maintain that the bodies probably belonged to former Chinese death row inmates, around 6,000 of whom are killed each year.
Encore Productions, the local French organiser of the exhibition, was unable to prove – on grounds of medical confidentiality - that the Chinese group that provided the bodies had not procured them from prisons.


Appealing… to consumers?

After the rights groups presented their case, a Paris judge ordered “Our Body” to be closed in 2009. The exhibition organisers shot back that the ruling had been “ecclesiastically” inspired, based on the judge’s “personal beliefs” and appealed the decision.

Ten days later, a Paris court of appeals confirmed the ban, but offered a different reason for its decision: the judge insisted that proof of origins needed to be displayed on exhibits. Encore Productions launched a new appeal.

After deliberation, France’s highest appeals court has also sided with the plaintiffs, but on entirely new grounds. According to the presiding judges, the display of corpses for commercial purposes goes against the French civil code, which states: "The remains of the deceased should be treated with respect, dignity and decency."
For Patrice Spinosi, the lawyer for Encore Productions, the decision sets a questionable precedent. “‘Commercial purposes’, is at best a vague term,” Spinosi says. “We will see if any exhibition you have to pay to see can become a candidate for this ban,” he added.

For the winning lawyer, Richard Sedillot, the issue is also far from over. He says he has already been contacted by Canadian and Eastern European organisations that hope to bring similar charges against “Our Body” in their own countries.

Article from: france24.com




Related Articles
8-Year-Old Painting Prodigy "Mini Monet" is New Art World Star
The (Naked) Nobel Brotherhood and Vigeland’s Strange Art in Oslo
Ostrich egg patterns oldest form of art and communication
Alan Moore - Art is Magic (Video)
National Art Hate Week
Israeli art show removes pictures showing suicide bomber as Virgin Mary after public furor
Neurology and the Passion for Art (Video)
Czech EU art stokes controversy
Gunther von Hagens exhibition criticised over corpse sex display


Latest News from our Front Page

Norway Joins the Race to Develop Killer Robots
2014 10 24
Norway is a large exporter of weapons, which makes the resolution of the debate about creating killer robots an important issue for everyone.  One could debate the overall merits or failings of robotic systems, but an area that clearly has become a point for concern on all sides is the emergence of "killer robots." According to robotics pioneer, David Hanson, ...
Gene That Once Aided Survival in the Arctic Found to Have Negative Impact on Health Today
2014 10 23
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a gene variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today’s northern populations. {snip} “Our work ...
The Ebola hoax: questions, answers, and the false belief in the “One It”
2014 10 23
“The Reality Manufacturing Company doesn’t just sell ‘fake paintings’ that are easy to spot. No. They also sell images that are geared to mesh with people’s deeply held instincts and thereby produce rigid false beliefs. People are sure that if they gave up such beliefs, their world would fall apart and blow away in the wind.” ...
New Controversial Theory Suggests "Hobbits" Were Not Human - Who Were These Mysterious Beings?
2014 10 23
The origin of the Hobbit species remains a challenging subject to scientists. The Hobbit’s discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human, but new research the Hobbit’s were not human at all! So, who were these mysterious beings? Where did they come from? The idea that our species, Homo sapiens, was the only species of human on ...
Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
More News »