Monday, February 4, 2008


This exhibit is going from city to city in the United States:
The 15,000-square foot exhibit shows 20 human cadavers and 250 internal organs, all preserved by a process called polymer preservation. Mounted by Premier Exhibitions of Atlanta, the intent is to educate the public on the workings, intricacies and proper care of the human body.

The controversy surrounds the way the bodies were obtained: They’re unclaimed or unidentified Chinese citizens who gave no consent to be exhibited after death. A small group protested Thursday night.

Critics claim that, given China’s record of human rights abuses, they could well be political prisoners who were starved or tortured to death.

Premier vice president of exhibitions Tom Zaller denies that and says all bodies were obtained legally and the only reason there’s no permission on record is because the bodies are unclaimed or unidentified.
But even if they were obtained legally, how should we think about something like this? Rev. Michael A. Seger in the Cincinnati Enquirer:
How does this exhibit touch upon the respect due to the human person as an embodied spirit?

As an integral unity of spirit and body, my body as a personal reality expresses and communicates my deepest spiritual values. We love with our bodies, we mourn with tears, we nourish with our bodies, we comfort with compassionate embraces. Our bodies bear the marks and movements of our life story. The plasticized bodies of this exhibit rip a person from the context of her or his life story. They stand before us sadly anonymous: not mourned and not reverenced.
Does this sort of thing devalue the dignity to which each human individual is entitled?

The Enquirer - Visitors praise 'Bodies' exhibit

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