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19 January 2007

Human Body Part 2

IAN HENSCHKE: The amazing Human Body Exhibition's certainly prompting some amazing reactions. Because the bodies on display are all under fifty years of age and many died from smoking related illnesses, the anti-smoking message is one of the strongest. The blackened smoker's lungs is (sic) a stark reminder to a smoker that it might be time to quit.

WAYNE CASTLE: The number of people who see the exhibits here and look at the smoking related diseases and the smoking related pathology, the number of people here who walk out saying "that's it, I'm throwing my cigarettes away", and even the general manager of the venue here has vowed he'll never smoke again. So the impact as far as an anti-smoking campaign (and we're being very subtle about it) it is really quite amazing.

I've been doing events for a long time and it's very rare that people come up and shake your hand and say "thankyou for bringing this" and I'm being very honest when I say that. People walk out of here and saying "everybody should see this, every school child should see this, every smoker should see this". The comments that you get are very, very complimentary about the show and about the contents and being given the opportunity to actually see real human bodies exhibited in this way.

IAN HENSCHKE: Well this is one of the highlights of the display for me. It's the human arm - the left arm in fact, and you can see the branchial artery running right through the centre of the arm and then all the blood vessels around it. The extraordinary thing about this exhibit is that the flesh and bones have been dissolved away so all you're looking at are the blood vessels. Perhaps the most remarkable reaction from the thousands of people who have seen the amazing human body exhibits so far in Australia is that they liked it so much they want to be part of the display one day. There are literally dozens of Australians dying to be part of the show.

WAYNE CASTLE: We had 43 people in Sydney approach us to make formal applications to donate their bodies. We're not in any situation to accept their donations obviously, however we have passed their details on to people who may be interested. Since we've been in Adelaide we've had three.

IAN HENSCHKE: And if you do donate your body, you might end up getting a slice of the action in more ways than one. This body has been dissected into two hundred horizontal slices to create a sort of three-dimensional jigsaw.

WAYNE CASTLE: It's basically what your doctor sees when he orders a CAT scan or MRI, it's the three-dimensional image of it, it's all the organs of the body, the heart, the lungs, the liver, all the organs where they sit, where they operate. It is quite a spectacular display.

IAN HENSCHKE: And when you see the leg cut up like that it does remind you of, I suppose that we're all animals.

WAYNE CASTLE: We're all animals and you'll never, ever look at a pork chop in the same way again after you see this.

IAN HENSCHKE: Because this is the first time a display like this has ever toured Australia, a lot of schools were keen for their students to see it, but there was some concern that it might be too confronting for teenagers.

ANDREW FOOTNER (Teacher): We had to make sure that the parents were aware of what was here and the nature of it, so that they realised that they were real human bodies that they were coming to see and that the type of display that they had was educational rather than a gory type of setting that some people might construe it as.

IAN HENSCHKE: And what do you think of it now that you've seen it?

ANDREW FOOTNER: Oh, it's amazing, it's sensational, just to see all of the different displays here and the sorts of things that are here, it's a real eye opener.

IAN HENSCHKE: Despite the concerns that it might be upsetting for some of the younger visitors, the reactions were more of wonderment and fascination rather than worry and fear.

STUDENT 1: It's really interesting to find out.

STUDENT 2: I just thought that it was great, I didn't think there was that much stuff in your body.

IAN HENSCHKE: Do you think any of the students are upset by the fact that there are 18 dead bodies on display?

KATRINA SPENCER (Teacher): No, I don't think, I think they've been able to see it from the scientific perspective that it is and they've been able to see it for that and be able to take that on board which is part of their maturity I think at the age that we've brought them.

IAN HENSCHKE: What about your own reaction?

KATRINA SPENCER: Oh, I think it's absolutely fantastic 'cos I've only ever seen this stuff in text books and on videos and to come down and see it and put it all together, it's been great.

MAN: The other thing that really struck me is the fact that outwardly a lot of us look differently and also the colour of the skin, but underneath it we're all the same.

IAN HENSCHKE: And maybe that's the message we all take away from the exhibition. We only have one body, one chance at life, we're all basically the same and in the end we all end up at the same destination.