Stephanie Chapu doesn't want to be buried or cremated when she dies, she wants to be plastinated.
The 30-year-old Toronto woman is the first Canadian to volunteer her body to Dr. Gunther von Hagens for his Body Worlds exhibits, where human bodies undergo a process called plastination, are stripped of their skin, and are put on display in museums to showcase every feature of human anatomy.
Chapu says she had long researched what to do with her body when she died and plastination was the concept that appealed to her most.
"Nowhere else can we see what we look like on the inside and it's done in such a respectful manner to the donors," she says.
"It's amazing how we're made and how we function. It's so beautifully done and everything works together. It gives you a whole new respect for your body and what we are."
Plastination involves replacing the body's natural fluids with reactive plastics. It leaves muscles, organs and everything else with a shiny, plastic look.
Rather than being grisly, the human mannequins actually look fake, and you need to remind yourself that you're looking at a real body which was once a real person, Chapu says.
"I thought it would be more gruesome, and thought it would be kind of smelly, to be honest," she says. "But it's so well done, I thought it would be more weird but it's beautiful."
The eye-opening exhibit is currently running at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto and has been showcased around the world in cities such as London, Berlin, Seoul, Singapore, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The controversial exhibit uses the plastinated parts of more than 200 bodies to show the workings of the body's various systems, as well as the damaging effects of disease and cigarettes and alcohol.
More than 20 complete bodies are also on display, twisted and contorted into different positions to show how the body reacts and works in everyday life.
1. Plastination Exhibits - Disruptive innovation opportunity: Explore new ways to showcase the anatomy of the human body through plastination, creating educational and immersive experiences for visitors.
2. Altering Funeral Traditions - Disruptive innovation opportunity: Challenge traditional burial and cremation practices by offering individuals the option to donate their bodies for plastination and public display, providing a unique and thought-provoking alternative to conventional funerals.
3. Educational Entertainment - Disruptive innovation opportunity: Merge education and entertainment by creating interactive and engaging exhibits like Body Worlds that explore the human body in a visually captivating manner, attracting a wide range of visitors.
1. Museums - Disruptive innovation opportunity: Museums can incorporate plastination exhibits to diversify their collections and offer captivating experiences that fuse science, art, and education.
2. Funeral Services - Disruptive innovation opportunity: Funeral service providers can embrace the concept of plastination, providing individuals with a non-traditional burial option that combines scientific curiosity with commemoration.
3. Medical Education - Disruptive innovation opportunity: Medical schools and institutions can integrate plastination techniques into their education programs, allowing students to study the human anatomy in a more interactive and realistic way.