Ho Chi Minh City’s culture watchdog has decided to put a months-long exhibition of preserved human bodies and organs to a temporary halt after a review, conducted following the mixed reception the event received from audiences, found multiple violations from its organizer.
Khai Thien – Big Bang Co., the organizer of the “Mystery of the Human Body” expo, was informed of the temporary closure order from the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture and Sports on Friday night.
The event, initially scheduled to take place at the Youth Culture House in District 1 from June through December, has been requested to temporarily close from Saturday, pending “more specific announcement” from the culture department.
The Ho Chi Minh City culture department has reviewed the organizing of the exhibition following a directive from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, after the event was criticized as being too creepy for the public.
It was the Ho Chi Minh City culture department that granted the license for the expo, which aims to allow visitors to discover the mysteries of the human body, in terms of body structure, pathology, physiology and anatomy.
A total of 131 specimens preserved with plastination, a technique involving replacing water and fat in human bodies by certain plastics, are on display in the project co-organized by Khai Thien – Big Bang and its South Korea partners.
|Visitors watch preserved human bodies at the “Mystery of the Human Body” exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The joint review, conducted by inspectors from the municipal health department and the city’s Forensic Medicine Center, discovered several violations from the organizers.
Particularly, while the organizers stated in its license application that the expo would be held from November 1, 2017 to September 1, 2018, it actually attempted to keep the event open from June 21 to December 31, 2018.
The organizers also said only plastic samples would be on display, while they in fact showcased real human bodies and organs treated with plastination, according to the Department of Culture and Sports.
In addition to the temporary suspension of the exhibition from July 7, the department also requested the exhibitor to provide legal records by competent authorities to prove the origins and materials of the human and organ specimens.
Earlier, an official from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said at a press conference on Thursday that the exhibition is licensed and would not be halted “just because of public pressure.”
Samples of human organs and bodies preserved with plastination can be touched, do not smell or decay, and even retain most of the properties of the original sample.
While many visitors found the samples, including babies being kept in liquid-filled glass jars or adults in cycling and throwing-disc positions, creepy, others praised the exhibits for helping them to know more about the human body and treasure the sanctity of life.
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