Corpus (2008)

Corpus, journey through the human body

Our Queen Beatrix opened the museum CORPUS, ‘journey through the human body’ in 2008. Housed in a building in the shape of an iconic sitting human being, the family oriented science museum features a walk inside the human body, experiencing the wonders of our biology in close detail. Initiated by Henri Remmers of Reco Productions International, the creative development of the main attractions was directed by Léon Wennekes of Wennekes Office for Imagination. Inside, children and adults alike enter Corpus’ body through the knee, where they learn about the bones and muscles in our bodies.
The space around the screens is completely decorated, to immerse the audience in the microscopic world of our cells and tissues. Bones, sinews and muscles move and stretch around the people as they watch the animations, and the rushing sound of blood in the pulsing veins is heard.From there on the journey progresses upwards, through the torso, into the head, up into the brain. Along the way, more than 20 screens show the workings of more than 15 aspects of our physique. In my time as owner of Anitime, I produced all animation for Corpus.

When I joined the project in 2006, the script and storyboard was locked and ready. Just animate the thing already! Not too difficult, you’d think…And in good spirits, I started to read in the script, and look at the storyboard. “In a cross section of the bone marrow, we see the blood platelets being produced.” Allright, let’s animate that! Wait… bone marrow? How does that look under a microscope? That’s not to hard to research. Done!

On with the blood platelets. Research gives me the shape and size. But where do they originate? Ah, from a mother cell, which lives in the marrow. Now, what does this mother cell look like? Must be easy to find, right?

Well… no. Nobody, not even the Medical Doctors attached to the project, seemed to know exactly. Not in a way that is useful to make a nice render.
Luckily, biology is a hobby of mine, so after asking around in scientific circles, I manage to construct what I need to know. And that’s just one of the many details I had to research, in order to produce more than an hours worth of scientifically accurate but also beautiful animations. And educational, which meant I had to leave out all the unimportant stuff, and focus on the bit that needs to come across.

The two main attractions are the Story of our Birth, and the Journey of the Blood. Both animations are shown as a VR motion ride, in Stereo 3D. The Story of our Birth is an atmospheric experience, going from the conception to a matured fetus in gentle views and one exciting moment of decision. The surrounding decor is that of the womb, with dark red tones of light, and filtered sounds from the outside world of Mother Corpus. Higher up in the building, inside a giant heart chamber, the Journey of the Blood is a fast paced experience, the kinetic chairs enhancing the action and heightening the immersive feeling.

Between the start of the journey, in the knee, and the end of the journey, in the brain, people experience many aspects of the human body. The digestive system, the womb, the lungs, the heart, the mouth, ear, and eye. The journey is far from complete, but completeness is not the aim. The aim is wonder, wonder at the beauty of our own bodies. Where every single human being is a unique, delicate and incredibly intricate living system. Your body is indeed unique, and very special.

After wonder comes appreciation, and from appreciation springs the urge to take care of your body. Living healthily will work, and that’s the added message that Corpus wants to convey. The main journey ends when you exit the brain. But Corpus does not end there: the many sponsors from all over the spectrum of healthcare have furnished the Way Down with many games and activities. All geared towards learning more about your body, through enjoyment and fun.