Tuesday, 14 October 2008


Gunter von Hagens is again exhibiting his grotesque 'plasticinations' of human body parts in time for Halloween.  The nerdy (his own description) son of an SS cook (that's Hitler's SS, not our dear Social Services), Von Hagens was deported from an East German political prison on the grounds that he was mad. Ever since, he's been making a slow killing from body parts, some sourced, it is said, from political prisons elsewhere (notoriously China and Russia).  His exhibitions are the human equivalent of Damien Hearst's pickled cow series which, as everyone knows, are now worth millions. Only a decadent (dying) culture obsessed with 'material' (the goods), in all its forms, could value a human skull encrusted with diamonds as a piece of high 'art'. Von Hagens's work is as soullness and dull as Hearst's, and as degrading to the human spirit as that other fast-growing mass-media genre, pornography, in which bodies are over exposed to the point of ---well, what is the point exactly? Saturation point was reached a long time ago. As The Telegraph writer puts it:

'While Von Hagens has democratised death, he's also done something rather more daunting to it. As you look at his exhibits, it's not only the soluble fats that have been removed. He's also sucked all the emotional resonance out of them. Far from seeming poignant, or even human, these people just look like animatronic models from a bad sci-fi movie, with wisps of flesh adhering to them like bits of old biltong.'


Apparently, there are people queuing up to have the soluble fat sucked out of them (dead or alive). Plasticination is just liposuction by another name that doesn't, presumably, smell  quite as sweet. I can see no earthly use in it - except perhaps one: could  plasticination be the right solution for Gary Glitter? 

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