Please don’t bury me down in the cold, cold ground…

Not everyone gets buried, you know.  The sculpture in the image below is one of a series entitled Pieta by the Belgian artist Jan Fabre.  His is a disturbing vision, replete with insects crawling all over Jesus’ body and that of Mary, herself not a grieving mother but Death itself.  His aim was not to offend, but to represent a mother’s true feelings when she “yearns to take the place of her dead son”.  The bugs made me think immediately of the original Body Farm at the University of Tennessee.  If you’re not familiar with this charming place, human bodies are scattered about here in various stages of decomposition and predation by scavengers, studied and documented intently by people with stronger stomachs than I possess.  While not pleasant to contemplate, the knowledge gained here is critically important to forensic pathologists, police, and others seeking to unravel the mysteries of the unexplained death.  The myriad CSI-Wherever shows would lead you to believe the science of crime has been long understood, but to the contrary…while there are now a number of such places in the US, would you believe it was not until 1981 that this first open air lab was created just outside Knoxville?  So the next time the beautiful medical examiner hooks up with the handsome detective after putting the time of death at roughly six o’clock…she owes something to that little garden of death in east Tennessee.  (20 September, 2011  Venice, Italy)

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