The work of Dr Gunther Von Hagens
*WARNING* IF SQUEAMISH OR EASILY OFFENDED DO NOT SCROLL THIS PAGE!
*WARNING* pictures contain images of real Human Bodies that have been dissected, and posed for artistic purposes to expose the inner workings of the
Human body, if at all squeamish please do not view. DO NOT SCROLL DOWN!!!
When I first saw the work of Dr Gunther Von Hagens , I have to admit that I was more than a little shocked, it was during a channel 4 TV show in the
UK where he was dissecting real Human Bodies to show the World just how the inner workings where laid out.
Since then I can say his work has grown to such an extent as to gain notoriety world wide, both good and bad.
Dr Hagens During his early years spent 2 years in an East German prison as a political prisoner, and was only released when the West German Government
paid a $20,000 ransom for his release, in 1970 he went to West Germany where he studied Medicine at Lubeck, and received his doctorate at the
University of Heidelberg in 1975.
In 1977 he started work and developed his technique of Plastination which he patented in 1978 and further developed his method over the next decade,
and founded the Institute of Plastination in 1993.
For those of you not familiar with his work, Plastination was a method or technique used to preserve the Human body, or Any living thing using vacuum
chambers to saturate the vessels and body tissues with a polymer plastic preserving the tissue supposedly forever, allowing the Human body to be
sliced and cross sectioned to allow the examination of the internal structure with never before seen clarity without the need for cadavers.
Since the start of his work at his institute he expanded his work to include what he calls ART! Traveling the world exhibiting his work to the general
public, posing the bodies in different poses doing different tasks, including Sports, Pastimes, and even incorporating his models (Bodies) with
animals in working poses.
All of his exhibits are real Human bodies, which have been processed so as to be completely unidentifiable by anyone who knew the subject, and indeed
all remnants of their previous existence have been removed to protect the person on display and their families, He runs a voluntary process where
volunteers donate their bodies after death to be plastinated, Dr Von Hagens has strict rules regarding donation where as he has total control over the
remains after donation therefore giving him undeniable rights to what happens and what he does with them.
This where most of the controversy comes into play, (disregarding the fact he is using human bodies as art ) There have been legal arguments placed in
Germany that the control and what happens to these people should not just fall to him, even though he has thousands of living people on his lists
willing to give themselves to him after death to do with as he wishes, even today on his website there is a link to donate your body to him to be
plastinated, and it does not stop there, he also sells his plastinated bodies and body parts to anyone with enough money to purchase them, the
families of the deceased receive no reward for the donation, some of his volunteers say they do this because they are afraid of there being nothing
after death, and hope that their body will be displayed in a well lit room and are happy for themselves to go on display.
While he has caused controversy, not least the fact he now has funding off china with a University of his own, where he uses students to strip the
bodies of their identities, and remove everything not needed for the type of display needed by the customer, which includes teaching Universities
around the world, Recently there has been information released that he received the bodies of several hundred people from china and Russia who died
without being identified, which has some asking who where these people?
I have to admit I am fascinated by his work and agree for the most part his work is incredible, however I have a problem with the control he has over
these bodies and the fact he has control over the removal of their identities, the reason I have a problem is this method is open to massive abuse say
for example a good way to make someone disappear without trace.
Thank you for viewing this thread, I hope I have not offended too many people by covering this subject.
Channel 4 Information on TV show the Anatomist
[edit on 18/4/2008 by azzllin]