Plastination! Unlock a World of Post-Mortem Possibility!


Hannah Moreno 


The following satirical infographic approaches the topic of plastination exhibits. The images included may be graphic and too shocking for some viewers, however, that is truly the point. The display of plastinated bodies has become more about art and shock value and less about science. The image of the project to the left is only a representation. Because it is both graphic and too big, the Editors have decided to host in on a seperate page. Please click here for the entire project.

RHE309K, Rhetoric of Death and Dying
Project Timeline: 

First, I had to decide on a topic. I had composed a list of topics and noted my personal opinion to the side of each. I also went through the list and created a list of the claims I wanted to make about each topic. I chose the topic that I found to be the most controversial. I also did not want to pick a topic that any of my classmates had picked. Choosing a topic required that I ensure research sources could be gathered for the topic as well

After I chose my topic, I used Google to search for the official websites of the exhibits learn about the science of plastination and some of the testimonials of exhibit visitors. I did this to observe the way the viewing experience affected people. I also looked through many images to find some that were reasonable to use in my digital project. At this point, some images I gathered, I discarded because of their explicit sexual content. I felt that, though shocking my viewer was one of my goals, these images crossed the line. Still, it is worth noting that such displays exist .

After selecting some of my images and gathering my research materials from official websites, I constructed a basic outline for my project. I wanted to be able to display the images I found, because I found them to be a promising tool in the way of affecting the viewer. I ruled out all project formats that would not allow such pictures to be incorporated. This was a text-based outline from which my digital be created. This outline included the major topic, claims, and information I wanted to include.

Next, I synthesized my project proposal. Because this proposal required the discussion of a potential type of media for the project, it was at this point that I decided to make an infographic. I searched the web for a tool to make one and found Piktochart. Because I had never used Piktochart before, I decided to make a practice infographic to familiarize myself with the software’s features.

Title block and Subtitle block 1 – “What is plastination?”

First, I chose the background for three blocks of my infographic. I picked a light background so that the dark images would be easily seen and to contradict the dreary subject matter of inevitable death.

I assembled the title block and the definition block. I selected graphics for the blocks that I had already created and I adjusted font and color. I also reformatted the text to incorporate the graphics.


Subtitle block 2 – “What do I have to do?"

 Next, I wanted to create a block that included a “Protocol” so that the viewer would get the impression that I was using pseudoscience.


Subtitle block 3 – “Did you know?”

Next, I created the “did you know?” block. I began by placing the text box in the center of the block and formatting it. Then I added icons to all four corners of the block as well as above the block title. I chose these icons so that they were relevant to the text in the text box.


Subtitle block 4 – “So you might be wondering…What are the benefits?”

After this, I decided to make a block about the “benefits”. I formatted a list of benefits below the title and added arrows to each item listed. I added a border to this block and changed the background. I fashioned an assembly of graphics to place next to the list that emphasized the “validity” of one of the points.


Subtitle Block 5 – “Beautiful”

I merged the next block by extending the background and border. I inserted two images from an exhibit and created a poem in a text box layered onto a notebook paper background.


Subtitle block 6 – “Think about it”

Next, I fashioned a block which I filled with trigger phrases in a variety of text colors and fonts. I inserted three pictures and created frames for each. I scattered these elements across the block and adjusted the background to make the images stand out. I added icons to selected trigger phrases.


Subtitle block 6 – “Guess what?”

 I adjusted the background of the next block and placed two pictures in it. I added captions to the pictures, gave the block a “title”, and added graphics.


Subtitle block 7 – “Here is a bright idea!”


Because the previous three blocks contained images from the exhibits, I chose not to include any on the next block, though I did merge the background and the border. To this block I added two trigger statements and adjusted font and color to make the highly visible. I added light bulbs, clocks, and hourglass icons as well as a heartbeat graphic and a silhouetted figure with lungs.


Subtitle block 8 – “Don’t end up here!...”

The next two blocks were given a red brick background. I added a silhouette tree and grave as well as a large black cloud with an arrow. On the cloud I placed a text box with another hard sell statement. Below I added an image of the grim reaper and layer a red “X” on top of him. I then added a sad face to the tree silhouette for emphasis. Molecular and DNA graphics were added.


Subtitle block 9 – “Be remembered. Be Immortal. Be plastinated”

On the block below, I placed two images. I gave both of them captions. I placed one caption above its related image. Next I added a torn notebook paper graphic and placed a text box reiterating a “benefit”.

Subtitle block 11 – Open up your eyes to the possibilities of plastination”

In the final block, I placed my closing statements and footnotes as well as the hyperlink to a consent form.

I added numbers beside each image to correspond with its associated footnote. I changed the background of this final box for contrast. In total this infographic required seven hours to assemble not including the time spent gather images and information.

Revision Timeline:

First, I made an outline of the approach I would take to accomplish each of the suggested and required revisions

I made the footnote visibility adjustments on the infographic by making them larger in all cases, and white on the darker backgrounds.

Next, I added a warning block below the title.

After that, I added more trigger phrases to my project working from the top block to the bottom block. This was meant to emphasize my intended tone. This included the addition of a block at the end of the project  to impose the bandwagon affect on the viewer. This also included a crucial absurd justification specifically mean to address a reviewer’s concern. It reads as follows: “Your opportunity for legal public nudity!” This statement is meant to act as reassurance that I am undermining the idea of plastination displays.

Finally, I went through my project to proof it for typos and overall aesthetic appeal.

The revisions took approximately four hours, with a significant portion of that time spent brainstorming my approach.

I wrote my reflection, created my Text-based description and finally, my timeline.

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