A death wish. A dying wish for the cause of science and art. Apparently the former owners of the bodies signed contracts authorizing Body Worlds to pose them in various sexual positions for all eternity. Body World founders, Gunther Von Hagens, and his wife Angelia Whalley, prepare the bodies using a technique called plastination in which water is removed from specimens and they are preserved with silicon rubber or resin. The work of producing skinless corpses is not for the squeamish.
During Plastination, all bodily fluids and soluble fats are replaced with reactive resins and elastomers such as silicon rubber and epoxy, through vacuum-forced impregnation. After gas, heat, or light curing, the specimens assume rigidity and permanence. “The purpose of Plastination from its very inception was a scientific one, to educate medical students. But the interest that laypeople had in the plastinated specimens inspired me to think of creating public exhibitions, which was followed by the realization that I had to offer a heightened sense of aesthetics, to avoid shocking the public and to capture their imagination,” said von Hagens
Shock and Awe. The cross between anatomy, art and religion in large scale public exhibits has left few indifferent. The world of a small cabal of scientists thrust into the mass market. It is a conflict between different views of the human body and what it means to be human. The result and ensuing reaction has disturbed encrusted aesthetic, moral and religious sensibilities. Anatomy is to teach the living, or in this case, perhaps to scare the dead into harboring any optimistic pretenses they may have that reincarnation actually exists.
The central issue appears to be the element of perceived provocation and serving up the deceased for self promotion and profit.A commodification of the dead who can be warehoused like stage props. The artistic arrangements and poses of the bodies as statues, Greek theatre meeting Penthouse magazine, showcases a new form of sculpting material.The stylistic presentation was conceived to allay a sense of disgust, but in fact the promotion of the exhibit as ”artistic”, featuring copulating bodies, anal sex and other sensational displays has merely enhanced the exhibit’s notoriety. Artistically, it may be the aesthetic of violence at its stark, realistic and ultimate conclusion. To date, 28 million people around the world have visited the exhibitions. In afghanistan and Iraq, they call this Road Kill.