No sex for dead bodies at Singapore's Body Worlds show

Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:51am EDT
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By Rina Ota

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - A controversial exhibition charting life from conception to old age using cadavers has come to Singapore this week -- but without the copulating corpses that caused an uproar in Germany.

Body Worlds' "The Cycle of Life" exhibition is one of several around the world that show skinless corpses with muscles and organs revealed, in life-like, often theatrical positions.

The specimens are from people who have agreed to donate their bodies for educational purposes.

The exhibitions, visited by some 28 million people around the world, have been criticized by some people as unacceptable, with German politicians taking special offence at "The Cycle of Life" exhibit which opened in Berlin earlier this year because it included copulating cadavers.

These corpses, however, are not on display in conservative Singapore. What's on show is a flat cross-section of two copulating bodies that only shows their internal organs.

"Sensational display of sexual activity does not go with our theme," Chew Tuan Chiong, chief executive of the Singapore Science Center which is hosting the exhibit, told Reuters.

"It is for educational and science study, and there is not much controversy for using real human body specimens in this exhibition for us," he said, adding that several schools had brought students to see the exhibition.

Body Worlds' founders, Gunther von Hagens and his wife Angelina Whalley, prepare the bodies using a technique invented by von Hagens called plastination in which water is removed from specimens and they are preserved with silicon rubber or resin.

In Singapore, nearly 200 human specimens are on display, including single organs and preserved animals. The exhibition runs until March 2010.

(Editing by Miral Fahmy)

<p>A visitor looks at plastinated human specimens in love-making posture during the media preview of the Koerperwelten ('Body Worlds') exhibition in Zurich September 10, 2009. . REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann</p>