Amazing Grace of Plastinated Bodies – Farid Shirinfar

Monday’s lecture was interesting and informative.  I enjoyed the discussion on plastination.  A common concern is how the bodies are obtained.  Quite interestingly, Hagens, the inventor of plastination, directs a plastination center in Kyrgyzstan; that came as a surprise to me.  After looking into that, I found a youtube video filmed at that center.  When asked how the bodies are obtained, Prof. Gabitov, the chief anatomical specialist at the center, reveals that based on the country’s law, if a body is not claimed by relatives within 30 days, it is donated to the anatomy center; as a result, one can strongly argue that the bodies are being processed and displayed without consent. 

I believe that a 30-day timeframe is not long enough; given 3 months, however, I think it’s a fair act to donate those bodies to the center unless there is explicit evidence that the person wanted to be buried or processed in a different way.  I don’t think that plastinating a body is an immoral act; nor is it entirely new.  The Egyptians mummified the pharos which preserved their bodies for thousands of year.  With the aid of plastination and explicit consent of the person, deceased influential people may be presented strong by standing tall in their memorial buildings instead of lying in their coffins. 

In contrary, I was disgusted by the breads that resembled body parts.  I find it hard to believe that some people actually eat those breads.  The breads depicted body parts in extremely gross conditions; i.e. faces with blood and mucous over them.  Although I believe that Kittiwat Unarrom is skillful in making those breads look realistic, I question the consumers of his art.  I wonder if eating those breads can indicate anything about the personality of the consumer; would they eat human flesh if needed? I don’t mean that we need to prosecute people just because they buy and eat body-resembling bread; in contrary, we should welcome the consumption of the art and research to understand the instinct that makes this type of art appealing to an individual.

Next, the superficiality of plastic surgery came up in the lecture.  I think it’s quite clear that many people believe that it has gone too far and view it as a superficial and even demoralizing science.  I feel that the motive of many patients is to “enhance” their bodies so that they match the socially accepted sexy figure more closely. I’m quite liberal on this subject; I don’t think that it’s immoral for one to loose weight by liposuction or a have a vaginal rejuvenation if one sees the need. However, I think attraction becomes less dependent of looks and more dependant of charm and personality if a person is perceived to be “generally” beautiful; it’s charm and personality that keeps one attracted to and love another.

Finally, the project critiques were helpful as it gave me a chance to hear others’ thoughts and comments about my project.

Plastination in Kyrgyzstan: http://youtube.com/watch?v=-dNCQZFZ7M0

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