[Exhibit preview] Until today, I never thought humans were the stuff of fiber. But a tour through Body Worlds 3 and The Story of the Heart, opening Sept. 19 at The Leonardo, revealed a certain "fiberosity" of being: Nerve fiber, muscle fiber, organ fiber, lung fiber, fibrous tendons, even the vast blood vessel network surrounding organs and muscles—when isolated and highlighted like it is in this exhibit—looks like a fine mesh of fiber, or fragile red baby's breath.
And who knew the spinal column is rather drenched in blood from a dense mesh of vessels and capillaries that attach onto it? Seeing how interwoven these vessels are, how needy each organ, muscle and bone is for blood, makes one appreciate what a colossal bummer a heart attack might be.
My observations will no doubt make Dr. Angelina Whalley (above) happy. She wants me to think about my body and treat it nice. Quit my vices. Get fit. Revere it, even.
Whalley's the wife of the exhibit's creator, the mad-anatomist and Plastination patenter, Dr. Gunter von Hagens. She also serves as designer of the exhibits.
Creating this exhibit, for her, borders on a religious experience. At today's press conference, she noted that going back to the days of the Renaissance—when bodies were dissected and examined in churches—looking inside the body is a chance to examine "God's work."
As the 47th city to host Body Worlds, Salt Lake is a bit overdue to receive this exhibit. But at least, it's given Body Worlds a chance to work out all the kinks. Apparently, when they first kicked it off in Japan in '95, they displayed the bodies in straight-forward upright positions. The Japanese said it was too scary. So the von Hagens began positioning bodies into striking poses, highlighting the muscle groups needed to make such movements.
I'd show you some but Body Worlds won't allow posting their photos on blogs.
Thus, you'll just have to see for yourself, starting tomorrow at 10 a.m. at 209 E. 500 South. And/or wait for Brian Staker's upcoming review in City Weekly. And/or read this week's Five Spot.
And good on you, Leonardo. Nice to see the old library come alive again, even if it's filled with dead people. (Jerre Wroble)