Category Archives: bad taste

Cumming Soon! New AoB Video!

BRITAIN-ENT-ART-SCIENCE-VON HAGENS-BODYWORLD

So, we’ve missed several days of blogging thanks to production on a soon-to-be-uploaded Art of Bleeding video. What’s it about, you say? Well, the above image is intended as a hint.

No, it’s not a porn video, but like the good Dr. von Hagens, we know how to get your attention. Look for the new AoB Bodyworlds-inspired video on this site sometime later next month.

And while we’re on the topic of von Hagen’s plastinated “Reverse Cowgirl”…

In response to a 2009 controversy over this particular exhibit, a sulky von Hagens told the media he would saw the bodies off at the waists, presenting the conjoined male/female organs  in more clinical isolation. He is depicted here “dispelling controversy” (?) by waving a prop saw around the couple. Unclear whether he ever actually fulfilled this threat.

Ever the showman, that von Hagens!  Hat’s off!

Gunther Saws them up

Cadavers Gone Wild

The last post on medical students of the good old days and their good old gallows humor got me poking around to document some of those semi-mythic stories we’ve all heard about ghoulish stunts with anatomy lab cadavers.

The most widely circulated recent case is that presented in this video and mentioned on Boing Boing in October 2010.   Have a look and decide for yourself whether you think it’s genuine as the verdict is definitely out on this one.

Reaching back a little further, we find Mr. Parallel’s delightful horde of old newspaper clippings, where one can read of medical students propping up cadavers as scarecrows, heaving severed heads out windows, staking them on picket fences,  nailing loose hands to telephone poles, and hanging dissected bodies in effigy.  Good times!

cadaver-clipping

 

Vintage Dissection Lab Photos

dissect-2

Nowadays before medical students begin their cadaver dissections, they are invited to participate in high-minded ceremonies honoring those whose bodies are soon to be opened, but in the wild and wooly days before the mid-twentieth century, med students lightened this grisly rite of passage with humor,  painting macabre slogans on their dissection tables, and sometimes posing the bodies in less-than-reverent situations.

A good starting point for exploring such things is the 2009 publication Dissection: Photographs of a rite of passage in American medicine 1880-1930, by John Harley Warner and James Edmonson, published by Blast Books.

The  general phenomenon of anatomy lab photography is thus described by the book’s publisher:

In the 19th and early 20th century, a culture of secrecy surrounded human dissection in medical education. Students could be expelled for divulging the source or the identities of “subjects,” while anatomy professors, demonstrators, and janitors were to guard the dissection room’s secrets-which makes it all the more striking how often medical students documented and commemorated this rite of passage.  At the same time that student dissectors were admonished to shield the secrets of the dissecting room, they frequently invited in the eye of the camera to pose with “their” cadavers. For nearly the next half century, through the 1920s, the dissection photo would become one of the most archetypal and ubiquitous forms of medical student portraiture before 1930, yet it vanished almost completely after 1950.

These photographs were made in a surprising variety of forms: class portraits, cartes de visite and postcards, and staged dark humor scenes.  Complete with illuminating essays by two experts on the subject, Dissection features 138 extraordinary, rare historic photographs of the unseen world of the rite of passage into the mysteries of medicine.

Most of the pictures posted here — originally from the Dittrick Medical History Center — are from the afore mentioned book.  These photos and more info can be found on Science FridayDiscover Magazine, Morbid Anatomy, American Medical News.   The last few and more can be found in the online collections of The Burns Archive.

Don’t miss the Christmas Card!

Ape Bran Cereal Commercial Shoot

On May 8, Abram the Safety Ape and “friend” showed up at the Broadway Fiesta in downtown Los Angeles to convince festival-goers that his new Ape Bran cereal is a proven means of promoting regularity (hence the sidekick) AND “fighting cancer with great taste.” Footage shot there will be part of an advertising campaign launching this summer. (Photos: Phil Glau).

Abram Cereal pic 3

 

Abram Cereal pic 1

Abram Cereal pic 2

When Candy isn’t Dandy

shanabrook-chocolate-suicide-bomber1

shanabrook-bomber-detail

American artist Stephen Shanabrook gives new meaning to the phrase “dark chocolate” with his 2006 piece “On the Road to Heaven Highway to Hell,” an exacting duplicate of the remains of a suicide bomber sculpted in everyone’s favorite confection.

Shanabrook, who spent his youth working at a chocolate factory, has previously turned the medium to macabre ends with his “Morgue Chocolates” series — a set of luxury chocolate boxes filled with confections representing stab wounds, bullet wounds, rough autopsy sutures, and other trauma sites.  Like his suicide bomber, these pieces are crafted in loving detail.  And there’s no questioning the realism as these sweets were cast from molds Shanabrook made from actual bodies while visiting morgues in Russia.

Not appetizing, you say?  Apparently not everyone agrees, as some of Shanabrook’s pieces have disappeared into hungry mouths while on exhibition.  “Mostly kids,” he explains in an interview with Vice Magazine.  “They’re not scared of it. They just want the chocolate.”

(Pictures via eatmedaily.com)

shanabrook-unidentified

 

Edible Anatomy in Thailand

Yet another reason to visit Thailand — grisly anatomy-lab tidbits baked by artist/baker Kittiwat Unarrom.  His bakery, known to weirdo tourists such as yourself simply as “The Body Bakery” in Ratchaburi Thailand is slightly off the beaten path, but a manageable day-trip from Bangkok, and there is at least one tourist agency eager to help you find your way.

Constantly called upon to justify his wretchedly realistic yet entirely edible creations, Unarrom is quick to downplay their extraordinary nature, offering a rather bland rationale: “The lesson is ‘don’t judge just by outer appearances’.” But we know that’s just icing on the cake.

For a further taste of Unarrom’s work, check out the delicious images posted by  Shape and Color

bread1