The Universe Within is an exhibit of plastinated corpses currently on display at San Francisco's Masonic Center. It's basically a knock-off of plastination pioneer Gunther von Hagens' Bodyworlds show. Apparently though, the people who plastinated these bodies didn't have von Hagens's chops. The bodies are leaking. City officials are investigating and may shut down the exhibit. From ABC7 News:
The I-Team spotted moisture beading up across faces, dripping inside chest cavities, and pooling beneath feet. Plastination experts tell us, it's evidence of a rush job.There's also question about how the organizers acquired the bodies:
Bob Henry, Int'l Society for Plastination: "It appears to be a classic example of someone not understanding the process and not realizing that it literally takes months to prepare a nice specimen."
The I-Team took samples from the bodies and sent them to a lab. It's silicone from the plastination process and liquefied human fat. The bodies were not degreased properly before they were filled with plastic. Link
The Masonic's executive director and the show's promoter claim they were able to bring the bodies from China with the help of Peking University and Professor EnHua Yu. The promoter, Gerhard Perner, says he pays rent to the Masonic, keeps 15-percent of the show's profits for himself, and sends the rest back to China.
ABC7's Dan Noyes: "Do the profits go to Dr. Yu personally or to the university?"
Gerhard Perner: "To the university."
But university officials say all that's not true. They had no role in acquiring the bodies, they're receiving no money. In fact, they never heard of this body show until contacted by the I-Team. We've learned that Perner was able to get bodies meant for medical research and teaching from a factory in Nanjing, China. It worries San Francisco supervisors that these bodies are now on display on Nob Hill. Link (Thanks, April!)
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.