A controversial exhibition showing how bodies work – using real human bodies – has applied for a temporary public entertainment licence for the Pinnacle at 160 Bothwell Street in Glasgow.
Entitled ‘Bodies Revealed’ the show is organised by Premier Exhibitions Inc, an American company with a postal address in Atlanta, Georgia. It has been seen in a handful of cities in the United States and was recently shown in Birmingham, England.
Glasgow Councillor Dr Nina Baker said: The display of actual human remains is preserved by a process called ‘Plastination’ which strips away skin etc to reveal anatomical details. It is presented as educational but has been highly controversial almost everywhere it has been shown.’ She said she was concerned about the dignity of the human bodies used. ‘While the organisation claims all are donated, there are concerns about the actual origins of the bodies,’ said Councillor Baker. Allegations have been made that the bodies came from executed Chinese prisoners.
Said Councillor Baker: ‘ I, personally, would be worried about suitability for younger visitors and implications for public order due to demonstrations against the show. Residents with concerns who wish to voice them should go to the Licensing Section, 235 George Street, Glasgow G1 1QZ. The deadline is Wednesday 7 March and the entertainment licence reference is T2906.’
When exhibited in Birmingham, England, the show was picketed by Dr David Nicholl a Neurology consultant at Birmingham City Hospital who called it ‘a crime scene’. He accused the organisers of taking ‘blood money’ by charging £14 entry to the show and claimed that some of the bodies had come from Chinese prisoners who had been executed.
Premier Exhibitions say in their promotional website: ‘Our bodies are our most important possession. They are intricately developed machines; more complex and wondrous than all the computers and gadgetry we surround ourselves with today. Yet many of us do not know what makes us tick—how we function, what we need to survive, what destroys us, what revives us. Bodies Revealed, made possible through the process of Polymer Preservation, is an attempt to remedy that lack of knowledge by presenting to the lay public material that was previously only available to the medical profession: a three-dimensional tour of the human body.’
The Polymer preservation process allows human tissue to be permanently preserved using liquid silicone rubber. This prevents the natural decay process and preserves specimens for an indefinite time.