These techni-coloured cadavers are a weird combination of science and art, created by Iori Tomita, a Japanese artist and a lifelong fisherman. As an undergrad, he studied ichthyology—the branch of zoology devoted to the study of fish—where he first saw a fish turned transparent. Since then, he has combined classical preservation techniques with staining methods to create thousands of beautiful but eccentric shells of marine creatures, gradually mastering the nuances of refining form and colour. His process can take up to a year, but it produces a brilliant result. He begins by preserving creatures in formaldehyde, then removes the scales and skin and leaves the creature to soak in a mixture of blue stain, ethl alcohol, and clacial acetic acid. Next, he uses the digestive enzyme trypsin to break down the proteins and muscles—stopping the process before the creature loses its form, but just after it becomes transparent. The bones are then soaked in a mix of potassium hydropxide and red dye, and the creature is preserved in a jar of glycerin. Tomita calls the series “New World Transparent Specimens”.
How cool is it that when you take all the cells out of an organ it still looks like an organ?
I remember when I was in high school and still very confused about how tissues worked, because all anyone taught me was that we’re made up of piles of cells hung on bones. But that’s not how it is! Cells build themselves little hammocks of polymer and densely branched glycoproteins; we’re like onions, layers of membrane over tough rubbery collagen, huge protein scaffolds cradling slippery organs.
Bodies are not made of cells — bodies are made by cells.
WHAT WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME THIS CALEB YOU KNOW ABOUT BODIES AND THINGS WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME