Saturday, April 14, 2007

Museum Visit #2

Our trip to the Museum of Science and Industry yesterday went well: I only experienced minor panic on the tollway (I think they're still finishing up the construction projects they started when I began driving 20 years ago), but we made it there and back in one piece, and far faster than the train. Parking was a dream, which was made nicer by the member's discount-- I decided to join when I discovered that there is a CSI exhibit coming next month that the whole family would like to see: Members get 4 free tickets to all special exhibits, free Ominmax tickets, and it's all TAX DEDUCTIBLE, those two magic words I discovered this year after doing my taxes myself.

In fact, they were having a sleep in last night at the museum, which boggled me with depths of coolness my adult mind could barely comprehend. SLEEP IN? At the MUSEUM??? It's like a geeky kid's greatest fantasy come true, only there were far more adults with their pillows and sleeping bags there than there were kids. MY kids weren't nearly as excited as me, either, and had the audacity to ask: "but what would we sleep in, mom? What would we wear tomorrow?" Obviously they were not grasping the magnitude of how awesome it would be to be locked in all night with the creepy coal mine and the plasticized corpses. Sleeping bag, indeed. Who was planning on sleeping?!
Kids these days...

I have to say that the Body Worlds2 exhibit wasn't nearly as, hmmmm, how shall I say it? *Enlightening* in the educational, curious geek style I was looking for. (Unless you're talking about a "geek" from the carnival; you know, the creature that bites the head off of live chickens and the like to the horror of the onlookers.) I was expecting to receive some clinical insight into the human anatomy; more and better information, a closer view of the of the absorbtive tissues of the small intestine, for example. I even paid the extra $4 for the audio tour, thinking it would thrill me with fascinating tidbits about the pancreas and the neural pathways, the motor mechanisms of the muscles and bones. But unless you are living in a cave and missed your third grade science class, it wasn't telling even my 9 year old anything he didn't already know. Sigh!

Say what you will, but Dr. Gunther Von Hagens is more of an artist than an anatomist, in my book. The delight he takes in positioning his plastinates is very evident; viewing his work you get a clear sense that he is likely not undertaking this grim task to advance our knowledge of the body, as he claims, but because he is drawn to work with corpses as his artistic medium. Dr Von Hagens fashions these corpses into what he insists to be primarily functional, but there is a distinct aesthetic, and an undercurrent of creepy sensuality present in every piece. Living and playing not too far from self described "artists" such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein, it isn't too hard to make the leap from the scientific to the macabre; but at least Dr Von Hagens found a more legit means to fulfill his yearnings, and I can appreciate that.

I heard recently that the good Dr. is shocking the science world by planning to create a double plastinate, through which the "anatomy of intercourse" will be demonstrated; bodies "transformed into an act of love with a woman or a man" (as he put it in his questionnaire to 6500 potential donors).

Yeah, right. If this guy hasn't already made one for each room of his house in various positions, I'd be VERY surprised. And let's not even speak of his desire to meld people with animals.... Shudder.

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