Monday, April 12, 2010


When "Body Works", the collection of posed plasticised human bodies, first hit the Ontario Science Centre a few years ago, it made me uncomfortable although it was carefully marketed as a science exhibit. To me it looked like an art show. At the time though it wouldn't have occurred to me to question the Science Centre.

But now the science/art line has been crossed and I think we need to think about it. A similar show of plasticized human bodies is coming to Niagara. This time it is being advertised as "artistic, entertaining...also educational" and a real money maker for the area.

A more truthful marketing ploy, I suppose, but still very disquieting because it is literally an art exhibit of soulless humans.

Suppose a local sculptor managed to find a number of dying people and offered to pay them for the use of their bodies after death. Suppose the people were in need of the money and so agreed. Suppose the sculptor draped their naked, dead bodies across frames that made them seem as if they were engaged in an activity of some kind so that we could see the miraculous way the skin works to cover our internal organs and muscles. It isn't likely that many of us would go and see this art show. Because we might have known one of the people? Because it smelled? Actually it doesn't matter because the police would close it down.

I believe the adage that art reflects society. We've become so desensitized to death, especially death that happens far away to people we don't know, that we too are in danger of losing our souls.

Pretty and sanitized as it may be, this art show smells.

Actually it reeks to high heaven.
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