When I tell people that I'm a taphophile, someone who likes graveyards, I often get funny looks. When I write books like Desecration, that open with a murder in a museum of medical specimens, and explore themes of corpse art, body modification and teratology, people question my interest with such morbid things.
But if you understand these fascinations, if you are my kind of weird, then you will also love Morbid Anatomy, a fantastic blog that covers the themes I am passionate about and much more.
In the video below (or here on YouTube), I talk to Joanna Ebenstein, multidisciplinary artist, author and designer, as well as the founder of Morbid Anatomy blog and library and now the creative director of the Morbid Anatomy Museum in New York. You can read discussion notes below the video.
- Joanna's background in photography and graphic design, and how she got started with an exhibition on medical museums and anatomical art that led into a blog and then a global community of people interested in these darker topics
- The themes of Morbid Anatomy include 19th century hysteria, the uncanny, art and anatomy, death and culture, collectors and collecting, sexology, freaks and monsters, baroque art, gothic literature, history of medicine, taxidermy and there are now artefacts as well as books.
Things that fall through the cracks and flicker on edges, delightful in ways to certain kinds of minds.
- We discuss why some people find topics like death confronting, and about the lack of dignified discussion around death. There is an avoidance of great emotion in our society, but some of us are drawn to investigate these things that seem ‘wrong' or taboo in some way.
- On how two smiley, upbeat women can be into such dark things …
- Some of the objects that Joanna is interested in, including Anatomical Venus figures (which I used in Desecration as a clue to the murder), as well as a small Korean funeral doll that would assist in the underworld.
- On the Morbid Anatomy anthology which is a collection of essays and full colour pictures that will please people interested in these type of topics. It includes essays on books bound in human skin, anthropomorphic taxidermy, 18th century anatomical models and so much more. The cheapest way to get it right now is to be part of the Kickstarter for the Museum here.
- The Morbid Anatomy Museum will be opening in New York this year, it is an extension of the Library that Joanna has been running privately and will contain lots of artifacts, books and exhibitions as well as community spaces. You can read about the plans and join the funding on Kickstarter here. I'm really excited about it!
Right image: Flickr Creative Commons Peter Pelisek