Friday, June 29, 2007

Bodyworlds at OMSI

I had the pleasure of attending Body Worlds 3 at Omsi with Lil' Mike, Tweaky and Doc Ock. I think the exhibit would have been plenty interesting as it stood, but going with an autopsy tech (Doc Ock) gave it a whole new dimension.

"Oh, you see how that spine is cut -- I had to do that the other day! You take this circular saw and..."

It cemented the reality of the thing to hear his hands-on stories.

For anyone who is interested in bodywork, or health, or just being more aware of the body they are walking around in I can't suggest this exhibit enough. There are huge prints talking about "Man" and "Mortality", the wonder of the human body, impermanence etc. around. Some of them are interesting, some didn't do much for me (not a big fan of Kant, sue me). It all lends to an atmosphere of contemplation -- and kinda pulls it off, amazingly enough. In all, this exhibit can be many things to a visitor: a meditation on impermanence, a fantastic anatomy lesson, or an exercise in awareness.

I know the "awareness" angle is vague, let me give an example. I have in the past had a debilitating cramp that would lock me up upon awakening if I had worked hard and made my lower back sore the day before. After years of not having any idea what muscle it was (I had assumed Groin because of the feeling of it) I was told by a Naturopath that it was my Psoas that was cramping. And, it was cramping due to a pinched nerve caused by bad pelvic tilt (amazing what years wearing a tool belt will do to ya). Big news, because it let me know the stretches I was doing to prevent or alleviate the cramp weren't at all correct and needed to be adjusted.

So, I spent much of my time in the beginning of the Bodyworlds show just looking for and identifying the Psoas muscle. I wanted to see where it attached, how it ran through the hip, where it attached to the leg. I saw how big and meaty it was -- which made sense considering the strength of those cramps. I admit, I geeked out when I found it, pointing "there you are you RASCAL, I seeee youuuuuu, no hiding now!" People stared, whatever. I now have a solid image for the thing that I can work with when dealing with it. It's real to me, not just an abstract notion. Maybe that's not a big thing for some, but I find it helpful to visualize something in my body when I need to work with some problem or another.

The show was a trip. I didn't see much of it as "art" per se, I was more on the educational slant. Some of the poses were pretty however, the aesthetic aspect was easier to see after I had been in the exhibit for a while and gotten over any initial uncomfortable reaction I had in the beginning.

My favorite exhibits, from a visual standpoint, were the blood vessels only specimens. Specifically the liver and kidneys were just amazing and beautiful. The veins were dyed bright red, and presented on black and dark blue backgrounds, lit with a small spot from above -- very striking. Imagining how they pulled this stuff off technically is mind-bender that will entertain geek-types who attend the exhibit as well.

ps: Click the pictures for bigger and better detail.


Muse said...

I totally missed this exhibit when it was in Vancouver at Science World. :(

Kate said...

yeah, I wish I had been able to see it. My hospital's internal medicine specialist has a plastinated doberman heart that he let me play very cool.

Bpaul said...

"plastinated doberman heart that he let me play with"

Something about this statement I find...

like, catch?

Kate said...

actually, given the texture of the thing, it took some pretty serious willpower to not try bouncing it off the floor. I am very proud of my restraint =P

Bpaul said...