Bodies and books

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve explored a couple of events in our town. It started with Body Worlds 3 at Science World-Telus sphere. I got there around 3 pm, so the entrance fee was $25.00. Apparently it’s cheaper later in the evening, because admission doesn’t include all of Science World at that time of day.

It was quite the graphic science/art show. Anatomist, Dr. Gunther von Hagens has plasticized donated bodies so that every bit is preserved. He’s placed several bodies in sporting positions and opened up areas of each so that  key muscles and organs are visible. Some parts are identified with accompanying labels to help you navigate. That’s good, but I wish there were a few more labels. Usually it was just the muscles on the posed bodies being named.

Other displays contain separate dissected systems, like the male and female reproductive systems, the digestive system, and the nervous system. It reminded me of biology 101, but much better than pictures in a book. Hard to believe it’s all crammed in the little sack we call a body.

Even as a biologist, I found the show somewhere between grotesque and grand. It was weird thinking of all the time and energy put into the plastination process. Find a few donors and go from there, I guess. At the same time, it opened up my eyes again to the wonders of the human body. Not for everyone, but good stuff overall.

Word on the Street happened on Sunday Sept 24. I travelled down with a neighbour via Skytrain and arrived about noon. Surprisingly, the book bags were all sold out by the time we got there. I usually enjoy purchasing one and collecting all of the swag that comes with it. Just as well they were all gone this year, I guess. There is still a bunch of stuff sitting around my apartment from last year.

We went to a couple of lectures in the Word Under the Street section. That was the last I saw of her. She stuck around for one more early lecture than I did, and we never did connect again. Probably followed one another clockwise around the library (heh). I stuck around for one final talk on storytelling at 5 pm and got home around seven.

What I like about WOTS is the free-for-all atmosphere of the event. There are talks, displays, and performances going on everywhere. As you stroll around, you can stop for a minute or thirty to enjoy on-going sessions of poetry, book readings, comedy, music, and serious discussion about books and magazines. Most of the book and magazine publishers of BC are there, so there is ample opportunity to sample products you might not normally see.

Time permitting, the next events are the SOHO conference to celebrate Small Business Week, and the Surrey International Writers Conference. They’re both in October, so there is still time to get some work done before that.

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2 comments

  1. Yes, I’ve heard a variety of comments about the show, both pro and con. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you’re at all interested in anatomy, it’s worth visiting.

  2. I’ve been hearing a little bit about that Body World exhibit. Apparently it’s caused some controversy because of the nature of the displays. I haven’t seen it myself, but I think it sounds interesting (from a science perspective, of course). If that show ever made it to my city, I’d definitely check it out!

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