On city breaks there never seems enough time to travel into the suburbs. However on this trip we decided to miss seeing some of the main sights in order to visit Gunther van Hagens’ Bodyworlds exhibition. We never got round to seeing this exhibition when it was in London and as it is only exhibiting in Phoenix, Chicago (go see, Expat Mum), Taipei, Cologne and Copenhagen at the moment, we couldn’t miss this chance.
It did involve a very short train journey. We prodded at a ticket machine in Norreport Station to no avail so had to squeeze into a chaotic ticket office instead. I was berating everyone under my breath for not queueing before I realised it was like the Sainsbury’s deli counter and we needed to take a ticket. It wasn’t long before a clean, swift S-train took us to Svanemollen Station and a short walk, via the helpful hedge-trimming linguists (see Part One) to the Experimentarium, which sounds rather menacing but in fact is the old Tuborg bottling factory turned into a Eureka/Science Museum type of place with lots of children going daft.
The exhibition was awesome, in the true sense of the word. Using a plastination process which expertly preserves dead bodies, van Hagens has exposed all the nerves and muscles in order to educate the visitor in anatomy and physiology. The exhibits are all the more enriching because he has manipulated them to show how the parts of the body interact with each other, for example when playing sports. Dougie was naturally very impressed and wished he had been able to see the intricate anatomical detail when he had been a medical student. For the rest of us, although there could have been a temptation to giggle, with reproductive organs on show as the bodies twanged electric guitars, played tennis, football and swam, in the main it was just too inspirational to be puerile….though the Admiral did have a rather splendid telescope.
All of the bodies in the exhibition had been donated for scientific research and I thought how marvellous it must be to think you could live on, posed ways that shouts life and vitality. I did wonder at the couple who are posed in flagrante for all eternity in the ‘reverse cowgirl’ position and hoped they were well aquainted with each other before their untimely deaths. This particular exhibit was shown behind a beaded curtain with the words “warning: the sex act is performed here” which naturally increased the traffic in this direction hugely.
If this comes to your city (Berlin and Basel soon) then I recommend you try and see it. Children above a certain age will certainly benefit, though having had a wild lever-pulling, button-pushing time in the rest of the building in Copenhagen, one 11 year old boy had written in the visitors’ book for Bodyworlds “there wasn’t enough to do”. Sigh.