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Body Worlds--von Hagens Plastination Exhibit

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ok, this might sound naive or insensitive but why does von Hagen's corpse on a cross disturb you so much. I'm curious to hear explicit reasons.

My mind is not completely made up, but in general I think depictions of the crucifixion are usually too tame, they have become domesticated, too safe, lost their scandal, and anything that disrupts that complacency I think can be a good thing.

I understand that the crucifix has become a sacred symbol and that it out to be revered but I think most people are too quick to be offended.

I haven't seen the actual image so I can't speak to the specifics. It reminds me of the Christian indignation at Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ," which I also thought was a good thing. But perhaps that discussion is for another thread.

Anyway, I'm sure there are many who disagree with me; I'd love to hear you thoughts.

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yank_eh wrote:

: My mind is not completely made up, but in general I think depictions of the crucifixion are usually

: too tame, they have become domesticated, too safe, lost their scandal, and anything that

: disrupts that complacency I think can be a good thing.

I don't think a "plastinated" corpse will be all that much wilder (or whatever the opposite of "tame" is here). I can appreciate that this corpse won't NECESSARILY represent Christ -- many people have been crucified over the years, of course -- but then, crucifixion was a form of tortorous death, and why would anybody want to associate a real person's body with THAT, as opposed to skateboarding or kicking soccer balls or whatever else it is that the Body Worlds bodies do?

Incidentally, this exhibit just arrived in Vancouver.

Has anyone commented yet in this thread on the interesting paradox that some Christians venerate pieces of the dead bodies of the saints, while objecting to the treatment of dead bodies in this exhibit? I'm thinking of this story in the Vancouver Sun, for example, which mentions the objections to this show but doesn't mention the veneration of relics -- though the local Catholic archdiocese's official statement does.

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ok, this might sound naive or insensitive but why does von Hagen's corpse on a cross disturb you so much. I'm curious to hear explicit reasons.

My mind is not completely made up, but in general I think depictions of the crucifixion are usually too tame, they have become domesticated, too safe, lost their scandal, and anything that disrupts that complacency I think can be a good thing.

I understand that the crucifix has become a sacred symbol and that it out to be revered but I think most people are too quick to be offended.

I haven't seen the actual image so I can't speak to the specifics. It reminds me of the Christian indignation at Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ," which I also thought was a good thing. But perhaps that discussion is for another thread.

Anyway, I'm sure there are many who disagree with me; I'd love to hear you thoughts.

Entirely fair point. I reacted at an emotional level and don't really know what the problem is.

You're quite right that our representations are too tame.

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Has anyone commented yet in this thread on the interesting paradox that some Christians venerate pieces of the dead bodies of the saints, while objecting to the treatment of dead bodies in this exhibit? I'm thinking of this story in the Vancouver Sun, for example, which mentions the objections to this show but doesn't mention the veneration of relics -- though the local Catholic archdiocese's official statement does.

Very good observation. The whole veneration thing isn't something in my daily or regular routine so I don't think I would have ever made this connection. But it has merit. I'll have to look the schedule of this thing up, see if it will be anywhere nearby. If I decided I want to go . . . probably would.

And I third the observation that many crucifixion depictions are on the unrealistically tame side.

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FINALLY! I made it up to the Science Center while version 3 was here. If I recall, BW1 had some whimsical poses. Those are gone now. Now they are athletic and dance poses. 3 deals a lot with the heart, but the rest of the body gets some attention as well. A blend of art and education. Although I know they are cadavers, it really didn't seem much different than if they were manikins.

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