The End to hunger
We propose to build a monument that would
concretize what 7 or 20 million dead children actually means. What 7 or 20
million children starved to death really looks like.
First of all the number of children
actually die each year has to be agreed upon. It is a shame that we haven't even
bothered to agree on reliable estimates yet. It is not an easy task, but to
raise consciousness, it must be undertaken. I suspect that the reason we have
not agreed and that are different opinions is that 20 million is the right
number. So let's assume 20 until the statistics have been dealt with in a more
What we propose is a monument built by
this number of bodies in order to represent the magnitude of the horror.
The project starts by collecting this amount of dead children's bodies. To do
this one would have to spend at least two, probably three or four years to
collect the bodies from all over the world. The practical problems will be
considerable but of course not insurmountable.
The problems of legality in collecting
the bodies is another difficulty. Relatives need to give written consent and
certainly most of them would do so if the purpose is clearly explained and a
small recompense is paid. Generally these people are quite poor and even a small
sum may contribute to saving other children's lives as well as their
The form of the monument will have to be
left to the artist. However, the size of the monument is of course already
basically determined by the number of bodies and their average size.
Since it is mostly children, let us
assuming an average size of 0.01 cubic meter each. This figure of course must be
made more accurate already in the planning stages, but it is sufficient as a
basis for the tender. This means that the total size of the monument will be 20
M x 0,01 cubic meters, i.e. 200 000 cubic meters.
Without forestalling the artistic
rendering, as a matter of example, made into a square pillar with a side of 5
meter, i.e. a base area of 25 square meters, the height would be 8000 meters.
For construction purposes, this would of course have to be divided into several
pillars. Making each of them 400 meters, i.e. only slightly less than the 421
meter high Menara Tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which today is the worlds
highest building, would mean 20 pillars.
The practical work must be done
professionally and with highest respect for the deceased individuals. At
collecting, the bodies must be fixed in a 10% formaldehyde solution, which
stabilizes the tissue and prevents autolysis. Even though most of the bodies
will be more or less dehydrated from starvation, there will be remaining water
content that needs to be removed. This is achieved by freeze substitution where
the bodies are placed into -25o C acetone. After 4-5 weeks all tissue water will
have been replaced by the acetone. This will also minimize shrinkage.
The completely dehydrated bodies will
then be submerged into liquid polymer, mixed with a slow-acting crosslinker that
catalyzes the polymerization reaction, and placed under vacuum. This procedure
is performed either at sub-freezing or room temperature, depending on the
polymer and crosslinker used. The vacuum draws out the acetone from the body and
the polymer takes its place. Bubbles form at the surface of the mixture. They
indicate how far the process has advanced.
The polymer filled body is placed into a
sealed chamber where it comes in contact with a curing gas catalyst or to
UV-light and heat. This process will harden the polymer throughout the body,
making the body dry to touch within 48 hours. After a few months curing is
complete and the body can be stored indefinitely at room temperature.
In this process, water and lipids in
biological tissues are replaced by curable polymers which are subsequently
hardened, resulting in dry, odorless and durable tissue. There are several
polymer types used in these type of processes, i.e. silicone, polyester or epoxy
resins. The class of polymer used determines the optical (transparent or opaque)
and mechanical (flexible or firm) properties of the impregnated body. For the
present purpose silicon has some advantages and epoxy some, but we have chosen
epoxy because this is the preferred polymer for linking the bodies together.
This way we get a very firm result - and transparent.
The end product is an anatomical body
practically indistinguishable from the original. This is now called a
plastinated* body. It is easy to handle and more robust but it also has a
drawback in that, because the inflexibility, larger amounts of epoxy will have
to be used in the linking of the bodies to each other.
We wish to point out that the type of
plastinated bodies, as described, are prepared in many institutions worldwide
and are widely accepted for teaching, research and demonstration purposes in
anatomy, pathology, zoology and forensic medicine due to their hard-wearing,
durable nature. A well known pioneer in this art is Mr. Gunther von Hagens of
the University of Heidelberg, Germany, who actually invented the process in
Once the individual bodies have been
prepared, the linking of the bodies will be done in a conventional way in molds
that are injected with epoxy to produce the desired shapes of assemblage. The
assemblages can then be linked to form the monument in many different ways. The
assemblages themselves have the advantage to be quite light in relation to their
strength and flexibility and therefore the final objects can be rendered in many
As a first step we propose to build
a model of the size 2 m3 i.e. 1:100 000. The budget for such a model which will
be made of mock-up bodies would be xxxxxx US$
* A NOTE ON PLASTINATION
Plastination is a unique technique of tissue preservation
developed by Dr. Gunther von Hagens in Heidelberg, Germany in 1978. Normally
silicone is used for whole bodies and thick body and organ slices to obtain a
natural look, epoxies are used for thin, transparent body and organ slices,
polyester-copolymer is exclusively used for brain slices to gain an excellent
distinction of gray and white matter. Fixation can be done by almost any
Dehydration is achieved mainly by acetone because acetone also
serves as the intermediary solvent during impregnation. Forced impregnation is
the central step in plastination: vacuum forces the acetone out of and the
polymer into the body. Finally the impregnated body is hardened by exposing it
to a gaseous hardener (silicone) or by UV-light and heat (polyester, epoxy).
Plastinated tissues are perfect for teaching, particularly for neuroanatomy.
Silicone plastinated brains are useful because they can be grasped literally and
they are almost everlasting. Polyester plastination of brain slices provides an
excellent distinction of gray and white matter and thus a better orientation.
Plastination is carried out in many institutions
worldwide and has obtained great acceptance particularly because of the
durability, the possibility for direct comparison to CT- and MR-images, and the
high teaching and demonstration value plastinated bodies have.
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