Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dear Old Granny, Died 15th January 2013, Mounted 15th March 2013

Rudi, my office's Roe Deer
This morning, I was thinking about the mounting of dead animals on walls as trophies, which is a rather odd thing to do. I was then thinking about whether you could do a similar thing with human skin, as we do with animal hides bearing in mind they are both living organisms, therefore being able to do it with one and not the other seems rather odd. This led me to think about Gunther von Hagens (aptly nicknamed Dr. Frankenstein) and how he’s developed the art of preserving human tissue by plastination. Therefore, one day, mounting your dear old granny on the wall could be a possibility.
Although, the main difference between mounting an animal hide and a human would vary, due to the fact that creating the mould for animals is relatively simple, as even if it’s not exact it still looks like an animal. Even really bad taxidermy has it’s charm...even if they don’t look exactly like the original animals (I’m finding it hard to stifle the laughter and keeping a straight face as I type)?!. 

The perfect Coat Stand?
How hard would it be to make the mould for dear old granny, bearing in mind that every face has a 1000+ different feaures and points which make them so individual and if we did start to mount family members on the wall, would there be a heriarchy of good to bad taxidermy and would poorer families accept piss poor versions of their dearly departed?! Or could we get them posed and they could become handy items of furniture around the house?

Also, would the mould need to have a softness about it, or due to the plastination would it be hard and would this also detract from the initial facial features, etc.?

Maybe I need to write to Gunther...I think answers are required.

Tangent Time: I went to see Body Works when it was in Brick Lane years ago with my Mum and once I had gotten over the initial shock of it (which was set off by one of the slices of human having a tattoo, which brought back the fact that they once had reletives, lives, thought and movement), I found it fascinating and wanted to go back around again. I definitely recommend it to all who are mildly interested in biology and the human body.

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