Where are all the BODIES from?by Carolyn Classen on Jul. 05, 2010, under Life, Politics
Recently I read a press release that the BODIES exhibition downtown at the Rialto Theater (www.tucsonbodies.com) has been extended to September 12 (from the opening date of May 15) due to popular demand.
Then I got an email reminding me that my home state of Hawaii had banned this exhibit due to troubling questions of the origin of these allegedly “unclaimed” Chinese bodies. See June, 2009 article (click here). “Lawmakers in the island state said the possibility of profiting off executed prisoners from China would not be tolerated in a state where many residents come from Asian backgrounds.” (Chinese immigrants to Hawaii came in the mid 1800′s and intermarried with the Hawaiians, and other races.) Then I realized that some people in Tucson are boycotting this current exhibit for humanitarian concerns.
ABC’s 20/20 has done two investigations in China (click here for videos) of this exhibit, and raised “troubling” questions about these exhibits, such as where do these bodies come from, is there “informed consent” and are they voluntary donations, or bodies of unclaimed, executed prisoners in China? View these 20/20 news reports, but I warn you, the videos are not suitable for children.
Commercial profit is being made off these real life bodies exhibits all over America. And religious leaders and others are saying that this type of exhibit may also be disrespectful to the persons and families of these deceased individuals (especially so if these were not “voluntary” decisions to release these bodies to Premier Exhibiitions, an Atlanta based company.)
How are these bodies prepared? “The human body specimens in the exhibition are preserved through a revolutionary technique called polymer preservation. In this process, human tissue is permanently preserved using liquid silicone rubber that is treated and hardened. The end result is a rubberized specimen, preserved to the cellular level, showcasing the complexity of the body’s many bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and organs. The full-body specimens can take over a year to prepare and after undergoing the polymer preservation process, they become impervious to decomposition.” (from press release)
Have any of you seen this exhibit in Tucson or elsewhere? Did you find them educational or ghoulish? Are you troubled by the alleged source of these bodies?