‘Body Worlds: Pulse’ at Discovery Times Square
A man and woman, stripped of skin, are balanced in a balletic embrace, but their skulls and thoracic and abdominal cavities are open from behind and their spines are pulled backward, with organs and muscles attached.
A woman stands erect, also skinless, a slightly melancholy expression emerging from her facial musculature, her belly sliced vertically so we can see her liver and intestines, along with a 5-month-old fetus in her womb.
Another flayed body welcomes us into this new exhibition, “Body Worlds: Pulse” at Discovery Times Square, holding aloft, with pride, the complete coat of skin that has been removed from his body.
These are not models (or allusions to “The Silence of the Lambs”) but actual people who, since 1983, have donated their bodies for such preservation and display. More than 13,200 of the living made such promises; 1,254 of them are deceased, and some of them (with organs from other sources) appear among the 200 specimens displayed here.
You might assume that sliced and pulled-apart human cadavers, preserved in all the freshness of death by infusions of plastics and resin, no longer have the power to shock or amaze. After all, since the German anatomist Gunther von Hagens invented the process he calls plastination in 1977, then started the donation program with his Institute of Plastination, and finally began mounting specimens in “Body Worlds” exhibitions in 1995, some 36 million people have seen the shows in nearly two dozen countries in 11 different incarnations. (This one, “Pulse,” was designed for New York.) A competitor arose, Premier Exhibitions, and opened a series of successful exhibitions in the United States (including one that has been closed at the South Street Seaport since Hurricane Sandy.
(Source: The New York TImes)
Invasion of the ‘Deathxperts’: Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris/The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice Edition
I like to think that I’m the first to notice, love, and highlight a fantastic new phenomenon that’s out there: beautiful, young and brilliant women who specialize and punditize on all things morbid. Have you noticed this yet? No? Do pay attention:
It was my experience with the great Caitlin Doughty, whom I featured in this space a while back, that turned me on to the fabulosity that exists out there. People like Bess Lovejoy, Brandy Schillaceand Gemma Angel each deserve their own feature and will likely get one from me at some point. Today, however, I’d like to introduce you to one in particular who stands out for a number of reasons, including an intriguing new crowd funding appeal for a feature-length documentary project that’s just launched via Indiegogo.
She is Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris. Better known on the Internets as The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice.
Fitzharris received a Ph.D. in the History of Science, Medicine & Technology from the University of Oxford in 2009. She is currently a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London. She is the creator and author of the popular website, The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice, which looks at the horrors of pre-anesthetic surgery, and has written for New Scientist, The Lancet, History Today and the Guardian. She has appeared on television for the BBC and National Geographic. Here is her deal…
A bit more on Lindsey Fitzharris and the funding campaign for Medicine’s Dark Secrets - you can read the rest of the piece here! All hail the rise of the Deathxperts!
Stories from the birth of Modern Surgery: The Doctors, Their Victims and The Collections…
The advancement of modern surgery came with a price. Victims of the anatomists were often anonymous bits of flesh, yielding under surgeons’ knives. With “Medicine’s Dark Secrets”, they will be anonymous no more.
We have access to restricted medical and forensic collections, filled with jars of body parts that have been sliced, diced and catalogued for scientific research. But, what about the people who make up these collections? Who are these specimens?
We think it is important to tell the stories of these people who died, as well as the surgeons who cut open their bodies, so that these collections do not remain concealed, misinterpreted and misunderstood.
In this feature length documentary, we’ll follow a body from the moment of death, to its delivery onto the surgeon’s table, continue through the process of anatomization and what happened after; concluding with a selection of body parts in medical collections that no member of the public has seen – until now.
In “Medicine’s Dark Secrets”, we’ll explore the reasons why this body - and others like it - were anatomized and put on display. With help from our interviewees, we’ll investigate what happened to different body parts, how they became taboo and why they were later hidden in museum archives.
From criminals to corpses and from ‘sack ‘em up men’ to skin books, we examine the stories of the people who died – knowingly or not – in an effort to advance medical science in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
We are aiming to make “Medicine’s Dark Secrets” a stunning, cinematic journey into the past. We hope that you’ll go on that journey with us. You will meet some amazing people, hear some fascinating stories and see some extraordinary objects and specimens along the way and we’ll come out the other side having learned about this pivotal time in medical history.
Your feedback is important to us. We’d like to hear from you. What stories would you like to see on “Medicine’s Dark Secrets”? The Casebooks of The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice are open to us, so have a look and let us know what fascinates and repels you.
I’ve posted about Lindsey Fitzharris before because she is an all-round awesome lady and is responsible for one of my favourite blogs - The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice. This project will be AMAZING but she is going to need your help to bring it to life! Lindsey is looking to raise $30,000 (£20,000) to make this documentary and every donation counts! Not only will you be part of something marvellously morbid, but you can also score yourself some fabulous ‘perks’ - from t-shirts to DVDs! Check out the details here and if you can spare a few dollars and/or spread the word about the funding campaign, then it would be greatly appreciated!
MRI Music Video
Sivu - Better Man Than He
Artists use real-time MRI footage to create music video
Musician Sivu lies in an MRI scanner, repeatedly singing his new song “Better Man Than He,” for almost three hours to make the three-minute video.
Some see, not to mention make, art in unusual places. And so it is with U.K.-based musicianSivu, who is letting viewers peer inside his mind while he sings — literally.
Reportedly inspired by the work being done on children born with cleft lips and palates at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, Sivu lay in an MRI scanner for almost three hours and sang his new single, “Better Man Than He,” repeatedly. The resulting music video is an edit of that footage, relying on nothing but the relatively new real-time medical imaging technique often used to capture the subtle movements of organs, joints, and more.
Sivu and music video director Adam Powell are crediting doctors Marc E. Miguel and Andrew David Scott, as well as Barts hospital, for their help in the production.
The word is still out on whether Sivu was harmed in the making of this film, but because MRIdoes not use ionizing radiation — the high-energy radiation currently used in CT scans that may damage DNA — the FDA reports that there are “no known harmful side-effects associated with temporary exposure to the strong magnetic field used by MRI scanners.”
Prolonged exposure, however, can result in a slight warming of the body. There’s got to be a good pun in there somewhere.
Additional info via CNET