For those of you who don’t know, plastinationis the mummification of human specimens using modern science and technology. Through a process commonly known as plastination, gunther von hagen has created many real human exhibitions of his work, which although may appear disturbing at first sight, is actually highly educational from a biologists perspective.
Through this technique he has been able to take snapshots of the human species never before seen as previous methods of petrification were always performed externally. Gunther developed a way to petrify deceased human specimens, (with there consent), through the use of acetone to freeze the bodies in a cryogenic state and through the use of a vacuum pump, infuse his plastic polymer into the very grain of the specimen, creating a rigid platform to perform dissection.
Gunther is also well known for his live autopsy performances, although if you are squemish, these episodes can be very difficult to digest!
There has been a lot of media attention and controversy over his work on both religious and ethical, moral grounds as would be expected with his chosen line of work. There were questions raised as to the authenticity of his subjects willingness to participate. Many of his exhibitions are deliberately forcing the viewer to interact with the specimen and see the human body in it’s true and natural state beneath the skin.
I was lucky enough to view his exhibition at the museum of science and industry in manchester, and although reluctant at first, i became amazed by the exhibitions that were portrayed in a truly fascinating display of human genius.
It makes you really appreciate the true beauty of the human body, and at the same time gives you a realization that we are all mortal beings whether we choose to be or not. I thought you might like to see some of the images we took whilst inside the exhibition and would urge anyone to try something new, this is a wonderful achievement and it should be embraced!