BODY WORLDS Vital offers better understanding of inner self

Calgarians have until May 31 to take a close look inside a human body and get a better idea of their own inner workings, thanks to the BODY WORLDS Vital exhibit sponsored by TELUS Spark.

The travelling exhibition, which opened Jan. 16 at the Calgary Science Centre at 220 St. George’s Drive N.E., displays human bodies that have been well-preserved through a technique called plastination, which was developed by Dr. Gunther von Hagens in 1977.

Erin Christensen, marketing and communications coordinator for TELUS Spark, said the exhibit has been well received throughout its tour, although this is the first time it has been in Calgary.

“There has been a year-over-year increase in admission and that’s great to see,” she said.

“We have a bunch of new displays that have been curated for BODY WORLDS Vital. “

Plastination occurs when water and fat in the body are replaced by a reactive polymer like silicone rubber. The process takes approximately 1,500 working hours and overall about one year to complete. All the bodies seen in the exhibit have been donated to science.

The exhibit includes displays that some may consider inappropriate. The TELUS Spark website cautions visitors to “please take the time to learn about the exhibition and determine whether it’s right for you and children in your care.”

Guests can expect to walk away with a greater appreciation for the intricacy and inner workings of their own bodies. It is anticipated the exhibit might encourage visitors to consider healthier lifestyles.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Cindy Wagner, who took in the exhibit.

“I find it interesting that we are walking around with all of these parts inside of us and how it all works together.”

There are currently 15,000 people worldwide who have signed up to donate their bodies for plastination, 30 of whom are Albertans.

Tickets can be purchased here, or in-person at the TELUS Spark Centre.

THE DIVER: The process of Plastination was first developed by Gunther von Hagens in 1977, and is the technique seen to help preserve bodies. Fat and Water in the body is replaced by certain plastics that allow the bodies to retain the properties of the original body. (Photo by Zach Laing/The Press)
THE DIVER: The process of plastination was first developed by Gunther von Hagens in 1977, and an example of how it preserves a human body is seen here. Fat and water in the body are replaced by certain plastics that allow the bodies to retain the properties of the original body. (Photo by Zach Laing/The Press)
About Zach Laing 2 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Zach Laing worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2015-16 academic year.

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