October 31, 2016 by Liat
Written and delivered by Bartolomeus Capetillo
Made by Premiere Exhibitions, in Tampa, Florida, USA. It has been going on in different locations since 20 August 2005. (Currently in Milano, since 1 October)
This exhibition was born to make the previously fairly secret subject of anatomy more accessible to common people. When I say secret I mean that it was information that previously was only, or at least mostly, know to medical professionals. If you had a special interest in the field, there were always ways for you to gather that information. With the opening of this exhibition it opened the possibilities even more and also made the information, let’s say, more socially acceptable.
There was also a more philosophical reason to open the exhibition. Showing bodies in this way, without skin, puts the focus away of conventional thoughts of beauty and lets you focus on the inner. Also the inner beauty. It gives you a strong feeling of “we are all the same” since bodies look fairly equal under the skin. It also makes it easier for the viewer to imagine themselves in the exhibition, as you can easily project yourself on to the bodies.
The experience is built up as a story – an ever more unveiling pathway. Spectators start at the skeletal system, viewing only skeletons and bones. As you walk through the exhibition the bodies get built up more and more with organs all until, but never showing, the skin. You are shown bodies in different poses, doing different activities and also diseases and the respective impacts. Also fetuses are exposed in different stages of development.
So why did I choose this?
I like the fact that it makes a strong impression on the viewer. An impression that also is directly projectable on the person going through the experience. There is also the point of making an impression on more than one level. It is not constrained to only the physical, but it exists also in the psychological, and even the spiritual.
Some of the most interesting things in this example, things and methods useable even for us, would be; the storytelling, the automatic projection of the viewer and the use of something unconventional to make a palpable impression.
The storytelling is always part of an exhibition of course, but somehow I think that there is a special way in this particular subject to make it more prominent. Talking about the projection, I think that the difficulties on this is to make the viewer see themselves, and not experience the exhibition as someone that is in a wheelchair. The feeling should not be “IF I was in a wheelchair” but rather directly connected to you personally.
Links and references