Articles

Bodies Revealed: controversial exhibition on display in a mall in Brno

In Culture on June 1, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , , ,

(c) Examiner.com

(c) Examiner.com

Let’s see what we look like inside. The Bodies travelling exhibition of dissected and preserved bodies and organs will be on display in the Olympia Mall in Brno, Czech Republic, starting tomorrow.

Naturally, two points of view collide as to whether it is “right” to organize such events. Leading Czech Roman Catholic priest, university teacher and public intellectual Tomas Halik had this to say (my rough translation):

halikI think decent people shall avoid these things. We must respect the dead and the culture of burying the dead. If we start treating human bodies as exhibition artifacts which we pay to see, that is where our civilisation starts to lose the respect.

…whereas the organizer claims that the purpose of the event is educational, the bodies are arranged in “athletic postures” to show how our bodies actually “work” and that this particular setting is in no way similar to the Berlin version where two bodies were arranged to illustrate sexual intercourse.

Ironically, you can say “yes, but…” to both gentlemen.

1) When it comes to the “respect for the dead”: we do perform autopsies, organs are removed for research purposes and transplants. So some deceased do “serve some purposes”. On the other hand, we do NOT know that the exhibits gave their consent…

2) The organizers should admit that they are doing it for money. Everybody knows it so they might as well say it. Sure, it might be more prestigious than money-making but still…they are doing it for living.

The exhibition has been heavily criticized by many people all over the world. A certain Florida DA even claimed that it was illegal. I am almost sure (I have to look up the statutory regulation first) that burying your relative outside an official cemetery is a misdemeanor, so having “dead bodies” unburied is not “illegal”…

The best way to show approval or disgust is by going/not going, i.e. by paying or not paying, i.e. by allowing the organizers to make money, or lose it…

::UPDATE:: The local organisation of the Christian Democrats urges people to boycott the exhibition. “It is symptomatic that this immoral exhibition takes place in a mall. We hope that people will realize how insensitive it is to exhibit dead bodies and that they will ignore it, Deputy Chairman David Macek, told the Brnensky denik daily.

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