Saturday, January 10, 2009

Body Worlds

Andrea got tickets to Body Worlds for Christmas so we went out on a date last night to dinner and the exhibit. For those unfamiliar, this is the exhibit where there is a bunch of bodies and body parts, all dipped in plastic and put on display. The bodies themselves are in various states of dissection, most with no skin. They are posed in really neat positions sometimes cut in slices and internal organs moved to the outside. Andrea's a Dr. so that is all really neat to her. I even thought it was pretty cool. So, the exhibit itself was worth going to, but the experience as a whole was horrid.

There was no where to park. The underground lot for the exhibit was full. The side street spaces were all occupied. By luck we came across one being vacated, so having gotten to the location 30 minutes early was a good thing, because it took half that to find a parking space.

Once inside we were directed to the basement to wait in line with all of the other pre-paid ticket holders. Yes ALL of them. There must have been a few hundred people down there in a long and winding line. All of them had the time of 7:00 PM marked on their ticket.

For what kinds of things do you have a tickets that have a specific time? Anything in a theater, auditorium, arena, and the like, right? For what is essentially an art exhibit? That seemed odd. You go through at your own pace. You spend more time at the things you want and less at the things that don't interest you. So having a time on an exhibit that is open 24 hours must be to regulate how many people are there at one time, so that everyone gets the experience they are paying for. In this case it was about $30 a person, so you'd expect a fairly personal experience.

It's not like this is their first time at the rodeo. This is Body Worlds 3. That means there was a 1 and 2 before it. Utah is not the first stop on the tour either. There is plenty of experience to have a really good idea of how many tickets to sell for each half-hour block. Instead of rubbing a couple of braincells together and making the whole experience a nice one...for $30 a person...did I mention that already (In our case it was a very nice Christmas present, but I can be irritated for other people)?

After our wait downstairs we got to go back up to the main floor, where there was another line with at least 3 times as many people. After that line we went upstairs, where there was another line. This one probably only had about 100 people in it, so we're nearing the end.

TWO HOURS from the time we got there, we are having our tickets scanned. The lady says "If there is a lot of people at one exhibit just go on to the next and come back later. There will be no more lines after this point." Right after the turn stile, we find ourselves in another line! This one, to pick up our prepaid audio guide (Really cool device that tells us extra stuff about each of the things we see).

The stuff we saw was cool, but at each display there was at least half a dozen other people crowded around it. We spent about an hour in the show itself, with us taking our own sweet time, which seemed reasonable to me. Only 650 people were allowed in the show at once, which seems high for how much space there was. Not everyone had the audio gadgets, so most only paid $25 a person. If everyone else averaged about the same amount of time as us, that's over $16,000 an hour. Due to mismanagement they must have been selling more than 650 tickets for each hour block, so that's even more money their racking in. Even if they were only open and that busy for 5 hours a day (I know that it was packed for at least the 3 hours I was there), that's $80,000 per day...PER DAY! I think for that kind of money they could cut back the number of tickets per hour, and not make us wait for so long.

So for a final grading. The exhibit was easily an 8 out of 10.
The people running it and everyone involved get a -1 out of 10...If I found whoever was in charge in a dark alley, I'd be awfully tempted to make him/her look just like the displays.


Blogger Andrea said...

I really liked the exhibit, but the line was worse than anything I've waited in at Disneyland/world.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Wow Panda said...

Are those real body parts? I am assuming human? What about the smell? It sounds interesting but I'd rather go see sea animals instead....

12:45 PM  
Blogger BugHunter said...

Real bodies of real dead people. These people volunteer to become a part of the exhibit when they die, like donating your body to science, but to art instead. I hear there is a huge list of people just dying to be part of it. hehe

There isn't a smell because of some plasticizing process they do to the bodies.

There was a couple of animals besides humans, including a huge camel.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Capn John said...

That must have been really cool.

I read somewhere about a guy who'd donated his body to science (for some reason I think he was a criminal of some type). Apparently they scientists flash froze him or something. I forget exactly what they did, but it didn't degrade his cellular structure (is that a real term?).

Then in a process that must have taken weeks (probably even longer) his body was cut up into almost molecule-thin slices, and after every single cut was made a digital photograph was taken.

The end result of all their work was a computer generated image of the guy's body, stored inside a computer program that allowed you to slice the guy in two at any point on his body, in any direction, at any angle, and you'd get a perfect representation of what that cross section of his body would really look like.

You could even pick a point on his body and just "dive in" and the camera would zoom in through his skin and show you what it was like on the inside at that particular point. Want to zoom around inside his body? You could do that too. Want to dive inside an artery and take a trip through his circulatory system? Go right ahead.

I forget exactly what the rationale behind doing this was, perhaps it was so medical students could have an accurate representation of a human body to cut up before they actually get let loose on a real cadaver.

9:53 AM  

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