The art and science of plastination – Daniel Waltrip

I didn’t quite know what I was in for when I took this class. We have learned about some really interesting (and somewhat strange) things. I suppose that with such a broad base to pull from (art and science, two of humanity’s most fundamental pursuits), and such a limited time frame (10 weeks), we can only cover certain topics that either major milestones or on the frontier of art, science, and technology.

The subjects of plastic surgery, body art, and plastination are a few of the more random topics that we have examined. However, if we take the human body as an art form, as it is often is, and examine the ways in which it can modified, improved, or more creatively displayed, then it is obvious these are important aspects to explore.

Personally, I enjoyed learning about plastination the most. The science and creativity behind creating an exhibit of the human body in this manner is amazing. Creating a perfect plastic representation of the exact inner structures and systems of the human body is a pretty useful and neat activity. My favorite thing about plastination is that it is actually significant from both the science/technology viewpoint as well as the artistic view point. We can see the human body in a totally different way, how it actually exists under the skin and other layers. Looking at the different slices of the human body lets us analyze it a new way as well. And this can also be used to create fantastic art, as Victoria Vesna showed us on bodyworlds.com. The YouTube videos showing all the different horizontal and vertical layers of the body in succession were absolutely phenomenal. The display of the plastination models allows us to look at the human body as it truly is, without the distracters of superficial features. One can much more easily appreciate the beauty of the body and its functional and aesthetic qualities through plastination.

I found this link that explains the scientific process that occurs in plastination in greater detail, I thought I would share: http://www.smm.org/buzz/museum/body_worlds/plastination

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