Death + Art / Architecture Death + Technology

Body Sex Worlds

Body Worlds Plans Cadaver Show Dedicated to Sex
Jason Rhodes, Reuters (September 11, 2009)

via Discover, “Sex, Death, Science, And Art?”
(Sheril Kirshenbaum, September 13, 2009)

Plastination inventor and all-around evil-weird genius Gunther von Hagens is at it again — and by “it” I mean pushing the boundaries of most noxious, notorious controversy… and by “pushing” I mean thrusting, by “boundary” I mean vaginas, and by “controversy,” if you haven’t guessed, I mean dead, skinless bodies having sex.

Body Worlds has already sparked fiery condemnation for their display of one cadaver couple in love’s embrace (reverse cowboy style) for its “Cycle of Life” show (see a few photos here… um, probably NSFW? Who knows). The plan is to produce a new show entirely dedicated to sex — not as an inside-out Kama Sutra diorama of death, as cynics might believe, but to depict “anatomy and the function,” says creative director Angelina Whalley (also von Hagens’ wife) in an interview with Reuters.

I wonder, though, how many copulating corpses can be shown before it ceases to be educational and tends toward, you know, pornographic and creepy. DeathRefer John Troyer penned an essay about this very possibility (in terms of illuminating theory, no doubt) for a forthcoming anthology. Drat copyright and its meddlesome restraints! We’ll post a citation when it’s available.

The Body Sex Worlds will presumably make the museum circuit, maybe even in shopping malls like its rival, Bodies: the Exhibition. And perhaps therein lies the motivation — to edge out the competition with more artful effects and outrage. After fourteen years of touring, your traveling corpse road show becomes a one-trick pony show. Hey, now there’s an idea… errr, no no, just kidding. Please.

You may have noticed that I said “vaginas” above with no mention of anal boundaries: Somehow it’s imagined that the scandal compounds when the corpses involved are homosexual — or at least von Hagens is sensitive to this “very delicate subject.”

Oh whatever, Mister. Is he really that concerned about society’s ability to “handle it”? Or are dead men having sex merely being reserved to fill the coffers for the next round? And perhaps his not being gay prevents him from feeling he can depict it properly and respectfully.

Then again, he isn’t dead, either — and that hasn’t stopped him in the least.

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