Tuesday, July 11th, 2006 | All Things, Arts, Friends

The steaminess set in around 3:00AM, after I shut down the bedroom air conditioning and drifted off to a fitful sleep. Too soon, I was jolted by the rude blaring of my alarm clock. I crawled out of bed reluctantly and spent the better part of the morning in a hazy, pensive state.

Met SN for lunch this afternoon at a Japanese place on William Street. Actually, the spot was only nominally Japanese, as they also prepared Korean chap jae (which I ordered) and Chinese mapo tofu (which he ordered) alongside their sushi and teriyaki items. Despite the popularity of such eateries, I still find the hodgepodge of Asian cuisine offerings a little disconcerting.

After work, CS came downtown to meet me for BODIES…The Exhibition at South Street Seaport.

According to the site:

A human specimen is first preserved according to standard mortuary science. The specimen is then dissected to show whatever it is that someone wants to display. Once dissected, the specimen is immersed in acetone, which eliminates all body water. The specimen is then placed in a large bath of silicone, or polymer, and sealed in a vacuum chamber. Under vacuum, acetone leaves the body in the form of gas and the polymer replaces it, entering each cell and body tissue. A catalyst is then applied to the specimen, hardening it and completing the process.

End results are remarkably vivid and endlessly fascinating. Several of the cadavers were posed to illustrate the interconnections between muscle and bone in action. Referring to one body arranged to mimic a man taking a jumpshot, I remarked to CS that it would have been funny if the basketball in his hand were also dissected to show the peeled back layers of orange and black rubber. She giggled at the idea, earning us a few disapproving glances from the other attendees, who no doubt assumed we were deriving more prurient amusements.

Immaculate and amazing dissections, including one of the entire central nervous system. One gallery exhibited the immensely complex network of arteries, veins and capillaries comprising the circulatory system. The vessels were injected with a coloring polymer that hardens, and the remaining tissue was chemically removed in a process known as “corrosion casting.” What remained behind were the delicate branches, devoid of internal structure and displayed in dramatically spotlit glass cases: organs, limbs and one entire human body. The effect was eerily beautiful.


Bodies Tix

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