The first documentary in our series examines the efforts of Dr Gunther von Hagens to ‘open up’ the human body, its organs and processes, to ‘lay people’ around the world. From televised autopsies to a travelling exhibition of ‘plastinated’ human bodies, von Hagens has both courted controversy and garnered praise over the past two decades for his innovative approaches to displaying human anatomy.
The Anatomist uses von Hagens’ life and anatomic activities as a vehicle to explore the scientific, ethical and financial issues surrounding the use of deceased human bodies for education and entertainment. It traces the history of public autopsies, and raises questions about the place of the ‘art’ in dissection and anatomy—situating von Hagens’ particular écorché (‘flayed’) style of displaying human specimens in visual traditions dating back to the Renaissance anatomy.
The screening will be followed by a discussion of the documentary and its themes led by Karin Sellberg (UQ) and Emily Poore (UQ), with plenty of opportunity for Q&A with the audience.