27.1.07

Conflicting Values


I yearn to learn, yet I have no problem looking into the redecorated unskinned unidentified dead Chinese carcasses at the Bodies exhibition, now on display in Amsterdam.


Fascinating as the human body is, with all the different systems working with blood, nerves, the brain and the senses, this does conflict with the superhigh moral Human Rights values.


Yet, the museum is filled with high-educated Dutch cultured folk, all of which support Human Rights.


The hypocrasy is like the Vegetarians Dilemma: "Do i save animals by not eating them? Or am i cheating myself by refusing to eat that which is already dead?"


If anything, the BODIES exhibition is a good thinkthrough educational, art-like, biology class, also motivating people to not smoke, and take their personal health seriously, emphasising sports.


Still, is this form respectfull of the human body? I would have felt better of the specimen would have been volunteers.

2 Comments:

At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Frances said...

Hi Jen,

I think the Dutch folk at the exhibition subconsciously carry the same value: In western society science has a high value and therefore it is a virtue to dedicate your body to science. If the exhibition was a circus-like entertainment, which people value much lesser than science, people would object.
To my opinion it actually still is wrong to use found bodies for science. I have visited the exhibition though. And this is one of the controversies in human thinking: We know what's right, but we choose not to act to it. Just as people know how their meat from the bio-industry ends up on their plate, but choose to block that out and will still eat that meat. The ability of blocking things out is very human and therefore I think there's not much resistance to this exhibition due to the western value of science and the ability to block things that people are guilty of out.

 
At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally I think that a circus-like entertainment is exactly what it is. The pretense that this is for science is fairly thin and transparent. I see no added value to science or the understanding thereof provided by this exhibition. It is at least very bad taste but also outrageously disrespectful and discriminating. If these were white people sliced and cut up in poses and positions that totally deny their dignity or the circumstances of their death then there would be an public outcry. It is alarming that such an exhibition is legal. We perpetuate the violation of human rights in China by taking part in the economic profit thereof and that is already bad but this goes too far! I feel ashamed that I was one of the at least 5000 visitors that will pass through that exhibition today and that my 22 euros will contribute to the easy 200 000 earned this day. I wonder if other people who also went thinking that they would learn something amazing by going to this "show" and came out feeling sickend by the "aesthetic" and "compositional" choices made by the creator which leave no doubt. I am not conservative but this show is scandalous. I have only ever felt this way when being witness to gross violations of war and abuse.
Amongst the couple of thousand visitors I saw today there were only about 3 Asian people and one black woman. I ask myself how they felt - Akshiram.

 

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