The Christian bible says that the Creator has created us in his/her own image. This would make a creator of us all then, wouldn’t it? And great men and women throughout history have not faltered in their belief that ImagInatIon is mankind’s greatest gift, certainly beyond that of any knowledge.
Genesis also has God setting down a law (which I deem to be a reasonable one - but then, I've always found respect to be quite reasonable), that the human form he provides our souls is not to be desecrated.
I quote the Christian bible only because it is the one I was raised with, but I have to admit that I like the God who said these things!
We celebrate the wonder of our human form through dance and gymnastics and sports, through laughter and tears as we reach out to touch a baby’s cheek or offer a hug to a friend. Through sight and sound and smell, we celebrate! And, of course, we celebrate by being creators ourselves. When our soul has outlived its human form, those who love and respect us put it to rest, with no expectation of seeing it again.
Gunther von Hagens would not agree with my views on art or creation or on what it means to bring forth something positive into the world, (which I believe to be the cornerstone of art, a belief for which I realize I cannot maintain much objectivity about). For €350, von Hagens will sell you one 2mm slice of your beloved’s stomach (cut up by a high-speed saw) to hang on your wall. If s/he was really fat though, the slicing is more intensive and his price will soar to €2,500. Whether you want it to be transparent or more robust will also greatly affect the price. Perhaps you would prefer another body part? No problem. He does heads, necks, torsos, and extremities.
That is Gunther von Hagens’ definition of art. Apparently, he is far from being alone. Over 20 million have paid to view his touring ‘Bodies...the Exhibition’ tour. And in just a few days, he will tour my community with his macabre exhibit, which is 'set to remain' until 2011. The German anatomist takes corpses, many whose origins still remain unknown (he has been accused of using Chinese prisoners, for example), and manipulates/deforms/skins and sometimes plastinates them into everyday poses.
Is this creation or is it desecration of the human body?
Admittedly, the scientist might fulfill some criteria in defining what he does as art, if for him this is (1) self-expression, and if (2) it encourages inflection or contemplation, and if some visitors find the exhibit to be (3) deeply satisfying.