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 satisfactory manner.
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
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 own.
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
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
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
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 1978.
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 different shapes.
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 US $ XXXXXXX .
* A NOTE ON
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 conventional fixative.
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.
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