MedEx 2008 and memories

Faculty of Medicine at Colombo University has once again organized Sri Lanka’s key medical exhibition “MedEx” after 26 years, reports Colombo Page. The MedEx 2008 opened yesterday at the BMICH in Colombo and will be opened to public until Apr 1. (By the way, I remember seeing the last MedEx in 1982 as a Grade 9 student! Prof. Carlo Fonseka’s ‘fire walking’ demonstration was the best attraction

Science exhibitions play an important role in educating public on matters directly relevant to them – which they are not even aware of. Not all of us are fortunate enough to see the interiors of medical laboratories. Exhibitions are one successful way of bridging that information gap.

MedEx brings back two fond memories. The first one was the Ananda College Centenary exhibition in 1986, in which I too contributed as an A/L student. The project of our class was to demonstrate some of advanced chemical experiments, which normally could not be carried out in school laboratories. I am sure a large number of A/L and O/L students, especially from schools with little laboratory facilities benefitted from our work.ajith-jpg.jpg

Image: A photograph taken on the last day of the Ananda College Centenary exhibition. Hope you can recognise me in the front row with a set of test tubes in my hand.

The other memory is Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS the first anatomical exhibition of preserved human bodies, which was made available to the wide public. Since its initial installation in Japan in 1995, nearly 25 million visitors in over 40 cities in Asia, Europe, and North America have seen what is considered the world’s most successful travelling exhibition.

Each exhibition features more than 200 real human specimens, including whole-body plastinates, individual organs, organ configurations and transparent body slices.
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Image: Isn’t this scary? What the man on left ‘exhibits’ is his own skin.

The exhibitions also allow visitors to see and better understand the long-term impact of diseases, the effects of tobacco consumption and the mechanics of artificial supports such as knees and hips.

The Bodyworlds exhibitions rely on the generosity of body donors; individuals who bequeathed that, upon their death, their bodies could be used for educational purposes in the exhibitions. Currently, the Institute for Plastination has a donor roster of 8000 individuals, 490 are already deceased.

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Image: These specimen come from donors who want others to use their bodies for a good cause

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5 thoughts on “MedEx 2008 and memories

  1. I’m having trouble accepting that people find this work disgusting.
    It is nothing but interesting. And: disgusting is such an awful word.
    I remember the skeleton and plastic models we had in school and always wondered if the form and colour were like that. I knew shortly after, that the colours were to enhance visualibility and that the form can be slightly different due to the fact that organs are deformable (duh…)
    But if I see these photographs (there was not any exhibition where I live – no, not the sahara!), then I enjoy the detailed information it exhibits. The school models were also very basic!
    … but I accept that we are six billion human beeings… so I accept the (luckily) differentiation among us.

  2. this is not disgusting , i have seen many like this in canada at science center “BODY WORLD” more easy to learn about boddy and direct contact to body parts

  3. These works are beautiful, disconcerting and unique, but I can’t help but wonder what these people would think of how their bodies are displayed where they given the choice. Where these just average cadavers or where they informed exactly what was to become of them? It’s one thing to be dissected for science quite another to be dissected for art. Still an amazing view

  4. I understand the donors were aware of the precise use to which their bodies would be put.

    I also understand how some might be a bit squeamish at the sight of a body, just like their own, being displayed like this. We like to think we are unique, but at this level we are very, very similar.

    I see this as scientific art and/or an artistic science. Certainly von Hagens has a talent that would qualify him to claim being an artist, but he’s also working with an object that has its own intrinsic beauty. Perhaps he’s akin to an expert diamond cutter.

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