This is an interesting traveling exhibition from Korea that you should not miss. It may be a bit disturbing but it’s justified as an education in anatomy with a slant of “you should stop smoking and start living healthy”. This is an exhibit of cadavers preserved with a technique called plastination (developed by Gunther von Hagens, a German anatomist).

I like the educational value and eerie feel of the exhibit, but my gut tells me that whoever developed this is a bit mad. If you believe that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, then it is not right to manipulate and use it in this manner. (Even if you say that most of the cadavers are ex-cons from China).

Overall, I would recommend seeing it because it is very effective in giving you a sense of urgency to live healthy. Here’s my review of the exhibit…

Photo by Richard Romano

DSLRs are not allowed inside the exhibit. As much as I like taking photos, I understand why they enforced this rule. After all, it could create a controversy, depending on how you take the photos. The best photos of the exhibit I’ve seen are from Richard Romano in the Digital Photographer forums.

Photo by Richard Romano

The bodies are artistically positioned to resemble sports players — just without the skin and with accents on the muscles (with genitals intact). You’ll see a basketball player, a soccer player, an archer, and a runner.

This exhibit’s body positions are less controversial than other positions created by Gunther von Hagens.

The Plastination Process (source: Wikipedia)

“There are four steps in the standard process of plastination: fixation, dehydration, forced impregnation in a vacuum, and hardening. Water and lipid tissues are replaced by curable polymers. Curable polymers used by plastination include silicone, epoxy and polyester-copolymer.

The first step of plastination is fixation. This simply means that the body is embalmed, usually in a formaldehyde solution, in order to halt decomposition.

After any necessary dissections take place, the specimen is then placed in a bath of acetone. Under freezing conditions, the acetone draws out all the water and replaces it inside the cells.

In the third step, the specimen is then placed in a bath of liquid polymer, such as silicone rubber, polyester or epoxy resin. By creating a vacuum, the acetone is made to boil at a low temperature. As the acetone vaporizes and leaves the cells, it draws the liquid polymer in behind it, leaving a cell filled with liquid plastic.

The plastic must then be cured with gas, heat, or ultraviolet light, in order to harden it.

A specimen can be anything from a full human body to a small piece of an animal organ, and they are known as ‘plastinates’. Once plastinated, specimens and bodies can be manipulated and positioned.”

Photo by Richard Romano

The eyes are not plastinated, that’s why they are creepy, except for one cadaver where you can still see the preserved eyes.

Photo by Richard Romano

This one is both artistic and slightly gross. This exhibit showcases how our food travels when we eat — from the mouth, to the stomach, and all the way through the intestines. Throughout the exhibit, the tour guide points out the dark lungs, which is caused by pollution and particularly present in those who smoke.

What makes the exhibit controversial is how the bodies are dissected like a three-dimensional showcase of our insides.

There are six exhibit halls, each named after a Greek deity, presenting the different systems of our body.

1. HERACLES | Muscular/ Skeletal System

This highlights the different muscles in our body, which includes the facial muscles that we use to smile.

2. POSEIDON | Respiratory System

This exhibit is dedicated to the smokers, showcasing the dark smokers’ lungs, and the lungs with cancer.

According to a survey by the University of Kassel in Germany, 9% of the viewers of the exhibit stopped smoking and drinking, and 25% started to exercise to stay healthy. (Source: Myth of the Human Body Official Website)

3. DIONYSUS | Digestive System

I found it interesting how our food is digested for 24 hours through the mouth, stomach and the intestines. A must-see for all foodies out there.

4. EROS | Reproductive System

This explains our reproductive system with an exhibit of plastinated genitals and what happens inside them. During this part of the tour, there is an old video explaining how babies are conceived until the point of their birth.

In a strange way, this is perfect for Valentine’s. A scientific approach to love. 🙂

5. ZEUS | Brain/ Nervous System

This showcases the different parts of the brain. They say the more wrinkles you have on your brain, the smarter you are (just like Einstein).

Sometimes, you’ll smell something different while walking through the exhibits, which is probably why there are buckets of charcoal around.

6. ARTEMIS | Fetal System

I found this exhibit a bit sick because of the disturbing sight of plastinated babies. 🙁 Although, it does have an informative presentation of the different stages of development of the fetus.

Photo by Richard Romano

This is one of the last exhibits, where a plastinated person carries the skin from his body.

This is the last hall where you can take souvenir photos. You can choose to go with the photo wall or put your face in the standee of plastinated cadavers.

Myth of the Human Body is open from 10.30 am to 8.30pm. You can buy the P350 tickets on the spot. There is a tour guide who shows you around the museum for about an hour.

Kids 3 years old and below are free. I would think twice about bringing kids as young as Aidan and Joshua here, though, because they could have nightmares.

I recommend it for its educational value. Just keep an open mind when you visit. 🙂 It runs until April 17, 2011. Don’t miss it!

Myth of the Human Body Exhibit (P350)
Operating time: 10:30 AM ~ 8:30 PM
Address: Neobabylon Bldg 9 Bayani Road AFPOVAI, Taguig City
Telephone:+632 889-5467 or 1724

Related Blog Post:
Everyday Sweet Notes | Myth of the Human Body: Fascinating or Disturbing Exhibit?
I Am Not A Blogger. | Myth of the Human Body


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Full Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. We paid for our entrance fees. I’m not related to, connected with or compensated in any way by the establishment featured in this blog post. I’m not connected with, compensated by, or represented by any PR firm. Please email me at [email protected] if any PR firm is claiming otherwise.

P.S. You’ll lose your appetite after seeing the exhibit. I suggest eating before going there. The best time to go is Sunday, so eat first at Mercato Centrale and then take the entire family and barkada to see the exhibit. 🙂 Pwede rin siya para sa kakaibang Valentine’s date…