It’s not often enough you are able to utter that sentence, is it? But if you and your credit card can take a moment to swing by world-famous Gunther von “The Plastinator” Hagens’ online giftshop, your chances of accepting plastinated bull testicle compliments would be greatly increased. If you buy one, of course.
Or if the bull testicle piece is a bit minimalist for you, perhaps these more ornate pig slice earrings would be to your liking? Not quite sure what part of the pig they are, but they don’t look much like bacon.
Still not flamboyant enough? Not to worry! There are countless other choices representing varying degrees baroque grotesquery in Gunther’s Consumerworld pleasure palace.
Unfortunately, the plastinated cross-sectional “Sex Act” piece below is sold. It’s a shame too because it would have made quite a striking coffee table.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The delightful science/culture blog Biophemera pointed us to the work of artist Brian Dettmer who creates his astounding altered books via a strictly subtractive process involving no more than an X-acto knife and creative vision. Though Dettmer performs his surgeries on old books on a variety of topics, we’ve chosen a few favorites with a medical theme because…. well, that’s just how we are.
We don’t regularly patrol needlecraft blogs for topical material, but want to thank Scott of Laughing Squid for alerting us to this entry on Mr X Stitch discussing the work of Rachel Bernstein, a fiber artist working in New York with anatomical themes and subjects.
Bernstein comments on her unusual choice of subject:
In some of my work, I depict the body’s interior, challenging conventions of beauty. Inner organs are often presented as a subject of horror or, perhaps, clinical interest. But organs are as beautiful as the contours of our exteriors.I depict components of the digestive, circulatory, and muscular systems using organic materials such as felt and needlepoint to emphasize the delicacy and fragility of inner organs. They transform those parts that we least like to see into objects of exquisite and gentle intrigue.
After a few moments of wild disorientation (unless you speak Japanese) you will have eventually realized the “woman” in the dental chair is a robot used for teaching dental students. Along with a few speech functions, and realistic oral musculature, her teeth are embedded with sensors or virtual nerves that trigger a yowl of pain if the student fumbles with the drill. That response earned her the pop media nickname “Pain Girl,” back in 2007 when she was introduced, but her inventors preferred the rather unpleasant-sounding coinage “simroid,” a contraction of “simulator” and “humanoid.”
And not that you asked, but this is what she’d look like if you skinned her.
Of course that was four years ago, and we suspect Pain Girl has finished with her dental treatment and moved on to a more lucrative career in adult entertainment. Meanwhile simulation robotics marches on, and the formerly shocking robotic mouth introduced in 2010, is now only of interest when incorporated into bizarre novelty videos, such as this frightening example, which uses the mouth’s caterwauling to “narrate” video of this birthing simulator.
(Thanks to our friend Stephen Worth of the Animation Archive for tipping us off on the mouth/birthing simulator remix).
Physically expressing love for your internal organs and all the hard work they do can be a little difficult, what with all the flesh, bone, and muscle between you and the object of your affection. That’s why where the adorable stuffed surrogates come in. This plush, huggable prostate gland is just one of many delightfully odd products from I Heart Guts, our favorite designer of cute organs that appear to have been dissected from Hello Kitty. The site also features an entertaining “Fun With Guts” video and a lively blog covering all thing anatomical and alerting us to these ostensibly cute yet somehow frightening organ mascots manufactured by 1-800-MASCOTS.
Laughing Squid alerted us to this very special lunch tote found on Who Killed Bambi?. While visiting with Bambi, we couldn’t help but notice another anatomically themed treasure — this splendid specimen of skeleton couture designed by Jean Paul Gaultier for Dita von Teese.
Laughingsquid.com has posted the latest episode of Art of Bleeding “Anatomy Minutes,” writing:
A parody of the scratchy old educational films used to sedate students of a bygone era, this latest from The Art of Bleeding — the second in the “Anatomy Minutes” series — quickly acquaints you with those most mouthwatering glands in the human body….