Physician, plastinate thyself
2011-01-05 0:00

By Rob Sharp | Independent.co.uk


His preserved dead bodies have spooked, captivated and disgusted the public. Now, Gunther von Hagens, pioneer of the controversial Body Worlds exhibitions, has added future plans to display his own corpse after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

Dr Von Hagens, dubbed "Dr Death" for his phantasmagorical shows of fleshless corpses, revealed to his employees over Christmas that he is grappling with the degenerative condition. He claims to have seven years to live, and has expressed his desire to organise an exhibition involving his own dead body. The anatomist uses "plastination" to replace cadavers’ fats and fluids with silicone to halt decay.

"I want to decide where I will be exhibited," Dr von Hagens, 65, told the German newspaper Bild. "I will prepare for the plastination of my own body and decide the place where I want to be exhibited after my death."

He told his employees at his Plastinarium – his huge "factory" in Guben, close to the German-Polish border – that his family and "inner circle" have known about his condition for two years. He said he estimated the average duration of the disability to be nine years though he could reasonably expect "seven active years" before he was completely incapacitated.

"I can no longer hide the symptoms," he added in a statement. "My hands tremble, my language is vague, my movements are unco-ordinated. Again and again, I stumble around like a child. I have begun to lose skills I once had, knowing that they will never come back again."

Dr von Hagens also revealed he had been undergoing Deep Brain Stimulation, in which electrodes are implanted into a patient’s brain to treat tremors, a common symptom of the disorder. He said he intended to scale down work at his laboratory. He said: "Parkinson’s has changed my life and compelled me to change the course of my life’s work."

He added that he intended to spend his remaining years developing a digital anatomical "atlas", along with testing and filing patents for further anatomical techniques. "I would like to create a new body of work reconciling human anatomy and art, a continuation of the work of the Renaissance anatomists that I am calling ’aesthetic anatomy’, for exhibitions destined for art museums."

The scientist invented the "plastination" process in 1977 while working at the University of Heidelberg, and patented it the following year. The technique was first used on human subjects in the 1990s, with Dr von Hagens putting on his first Body Worlds exhibition in 1995 in Tokyo.

The shows, involving corpses displayed in often bizarre positions – such as riding skateboards or playing with guitars – have now been to more than 50 venues around the globe and have been visited by an estimated 26 million people.

In 2002, Dr von Hagens performed the first public autopsy in Britain in 170 years. It was shown on Channel 4 later the same year and resulted in 130 complaints to Ofcom.

Regarding any future plans to display Dr von Hagens’s corpse, Professor Nick Bostrom, the director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, said: "I don’t know about the ethics, but it seems at least aesthetically right that this artist’s own body should become the final instalment of his life’s work."


Article from: independent.co.uk





Body Worlds Exposition: Part 1

Video from: YouTube.com



Related Articles
Woman drove with dead body in passenger’s seat for 10 months
’Our Body’ exhibition banned in France
Women tried to smuggle corpse onto plane
BodyWorlds site


Latest News from our Front Page

White House Pushes Race War, Then Blames Guns For Flanagan's "Race War"
2015-08-27 5:04
"You want a race war (expletive)?" Asked shooter The Obama administration is blaming guns for the WBDJ-TV shooting, even though the shooter, Vester Flanagan, was influenced by the White House’s race baiting. The White House has been falsely insinuating that racism is the dominant factor behind numerous events over the past several years, even those that didn’t involve race at all, and ...
How Google Destroyed the Internet
2015-08-27 5:12
The internet was created to resolve a simple problem: in communications networks, any central node through which all messages passed was vulnerable to attack or takeover. To counter this, engineers designed a network where any node would pass messages to other nodes, routing around any damage. Then came commerce and the democratization of the internet. Under this model, frightened sheep flock to ...
German government opens borders to all Syrians
2015-08-27 4:00
The German government has flung open Germany’s borders to any and all Syrians, regardless of whether they claim to be asylum seekers. A statement from the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees said that “Germany will become the member state responsible for processing their claims.” This new diktat means Syrians will no longer have their asylum cases reviewed to see if ...
Left Pushes End of Church Tax Exemptions
2015-08-27 2:51
Emboldened by their latest win in the Supreme Court over same-sex "marriage," the left has been trumpeting the cause tax exemptions for religious institutions at a much faster rate, setting the stage for it to become a national agenda.   Immediately following the Supreme Court decision that declared same-sex marriage legal, Time's Mark Oppenheimer openly declared that churches should be stripped of their ...
Meet America’s First School District to Serve 100% Organic Meals
2015-08-27 2:05
When schools in California’s Sausalito Marin City District return to session this August, they will be the first in the nation to serve their students 100 percent organic meals, sustainably sourced and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). More than 500 students at Bayside MLK Jr. Academy in Marin City and Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito will eat fresh, local food ...
More News »