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Integral Anatomy Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 3

Fuzz, the Filmy Fascia

20 min - Talk
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We join Gil in looking at the filmy fascia, or “fuzz”, and explore why models and metaphors matter when we engage in discussion of the body.

This video was filmed and produced by Gil Hedley. It includes videos and photos of dissections of cadavers (embalmed human donors). You can visit his website for more information about his workshops.

What You'll Need: No props needed

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Jan 19, 2021
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So whenever you say, what is a body, what is a body, you say, well the body is, when you predicate the body, and the body is, and then you subject, verb, predicate, right? When you predicate around that word is, you tell a story, right, it's a metaphor. So if I say the body is a machine, a cool machine, but a mechanical model, the mechanistic model, body is a machine, and I'm looking at an aggregate of parts that work together to accomplish things, and the way that it fails, it breaks, I can fix it, I can replace parts and group parts, right? That's the body is a machine, it's a very useful model, we all are the beneficiaries of that model, although sometimes we bump up against the model when someone was using it in quite an attached way, treats you more like a thing than as a conversation partner, I mean do we really need to hear from a car? You know, right?

Like I'm changing your tires, shut up, right? So this, right, the model can get in the way as well, or for instance, my favorite is Saint Francis, back 13th century monk guy, do you remember Saint Francis, you might know him today as the guy in your garden with the robes and the bald head and the bird on his shoulder, not Saint Francis, but he was really quite a complex and beautiful mystical figure in his day, but he had, you know, he was a poet as well, he spoke of brother, son, and sister moon, and when he referenced his body, he spoke of brother ass, okay, so his metaphor for the body, the body is a mule, a stubborn animal, right, that needs to be subjugated, not listened to, but subjugated, right, that's a willful beast, right, that you need to sort of beat into submission so it will do your will as if it's in opposition to you, right, so your identity is not with the mule, but against it. Now we can imagine how they treated a mule in the 13th century, that's exactly how Francis treated his body, right, he decried it, he fasted, and he flagellated and beat himself for his whatever, his many wrongdoings that he imagined himself to be killing, and died at 42, right, at 42 years old, he was blind from fasting and body beaten and broken, and he succumbed to his metaphor, and on his death mat, he laid himself out on the floor there, he apologized to brother ass for having taken it too far, I would have suggested, had I been there, Francis, you know, for any of us, what else could we consider, maybe your body is a, maybe your body is a holy book, what if your body was a holy book, I don't know, what if it's a holy book, a scripture, the pages of your flesh are marked in exquisite detail with the finest hand inscribed by spirit with the poetry of love, lessons of mercy, miracles, angelic hosts, and the story of your life perfectly told, an illuminated manuscript of sacred writing, epic in scope, majesty and grace, every hair on your head and line on your face, every rushing tide of wind and wave moving you from within this living testament, bear witness to the truth layered within you, study this text with conviction then, reflect with care upon its meaning and enjoy the divine inspiration, see models and metaphors, they are generated by your choices of how you model your body and neighbor's body, now, when I was studying with your offer, I learned that the muscles should glide over one another like silk stockings, I don't know if I or Alth actually said that and if she did I don't know exactly what she meant by it but I knew what I took from it, I went on to the end of that recently, about six hours later I came away as the owner of these, yes, look up silk stockings my friends, so you grab a hole you go down, silk stockings cool, see how pretty that is huh, would you care to try them on first man, what goes into my mind is that they're two different things right, they're very slippery on each other, they're not connected, not connected, cool, okay, that's what I took from that, I'll take these little babies like I'm now silk stocking, that's actually an energy of beautiful connection, beautiful connection, silk stockings, powerful independent movers, that is the ad that got me to buy, another image that I faced early in my training was this one right from the beginning, again back to the anatomical charts catalog, now what we see, we see the muscular system with many words and lines drawn identifying discrete units within that muscular system so the concept of a discrete unit and what did you learn in your trainings, oh they're attached up their fins, they have an origin and an insertion, how cool is that, so based on the metaphor and the curriculum I had an expectation when I showed up in the dissection lab and saw muscle tissue, I expected them to be discrete units right, attached at their ends separate and independent like silk stockings, but instead I found fuzz and I told myself stories about it, I showed up with a metaphor and I found something contradictory to the metaphor, now when the reality is contradictory to your expectation, what do you do, well a humble person changes their story and a less humble person complains about the reality, Mr. Agape was the most precious form, I worked with this gentleman's body for 26 days in a row about 17 hours a day and it's the primary form on which I based my DVD series, I wept in appreciation for this man over and over again and as I reflected his superficial fashion and lifted it up, what did I find, fuzz, right, fuzz, cool, a cup of candy, but with Mr. Agape I was on a mission, I was on a mission to demonstrate the letters to demonstrate the whole superficial fashion, I couldn't have managed to get the jacket off of him like a smoking jacket, he was the cadaver I did before being a snare, right, he was on number 100, she was 101, I actually uttered the words on camera, wouldn't it be cool if I could do the whole thing and then the next cadaver I did the whole thing, but meanwhile I just obliterated all that cup of candy and then I encountered the deep fashion and when I incised it and looked underneath it, what did I find, more fuzz, fuzz above the deep fashion, fuzz below the deep fashion, I included this in my fuzz speech, the image of me, right, breaking through those fibers so that I could show you that, right, because I had to dissect and clear away something to present this abstract image of an independent deep fashion. What about within the muscle layer, here's Mr. Agape's thigh, you see the rectus femoris on the top, as I differentiate it from the vastus intermedius, what did I find, you know I found more fuzz, right, fuzz above the deep fashion, fuzz below the deep fashion, fuzz within the muscle layer, fuzz, fuzz, fuzz, none of it was in the netter, none of it was even in the dissection atlas' picture there, it wasn't on my flash cards, it wasn't in the curriculum, no one told me it was going to be there, I didn't know what it was doing now, but I knew how to make it go away, see here I'm dissecting, right, with my fingers and there's nothing more fuzz than blunt dissection, it is immensely satisfying, especially because their end result is this on stockings, right, straight out of the flash card, woo! Now this image, also from my fuzz thing, here's Mr. Agape's prone, this is his left shoulder blade, now look kind of clumpy to me, I go over to the right side as a point of comparison, but it's not a fair comparison because that side was dissected, right, and I maybe unfortunately chose this footage to illustrate the fuzz speech because I didn't have any other footage at the time, and I was trying to talk about how things could get kind of fuzzed over and clumpy and to be perfectly honest, although I can't really evaluate, because I didn't see Mr. Agape and function as compared to many many other cadavers that I dissected to that point, his shoulder looked a little clumpy to me and I wasn't absolutely sure that he could put the macaroni on the third shelf, right, but that having been said, that's a pure speculation, perhaps he could have, and I can't make that call from looking at that image and it would be unfair to imply that your shoulder should look like the other side because it shouldn't look like the other side because there's no air in you, total connection and differential movement, that other image is of a dissected shoulder and this is an undetected shoulder, okay, so I leave the fuzz speech up there, not only because the more I look into it, the brighter it gets, despite a few of the images being slightly misleading and I get so much feedback on it that it inspires movement that I keep it up on YouTube, but it takes me four hours to explain it, I don't think, so, you see, it's possible to look at evidence and conclude mistakenly, especially when you start out with a questionable premise or a sketching metaphor, so Gil, is the fuzz real? Is santa real? Serious question, is santa real? When I ask myself that question, I can only have one answer, yes, santa is real, I know santa is real because I stayed up until two o'clock in the morning, fixing the stockings, making sure everything's right, putting clothes, putting some snow, biting on carrots, chewing on cookies, I know santa is real, I'm santa and many of you in here know santa is real because you're santa, right, but if you're talking to your kid, their idea of santa transitions, right, from one part, from one time to another as they grow and learn, there comes a point when they kind of flip them, usually if they're sweet kids like my kids, I can remember when my daughter sat her, she said, I don't understand, but I would tell Ian, her little brother, she wasn't going to tell me, right, because someday health, right, so, so yes friends, the fuzz is real but not, just not quite the way I first thought, just not quite the way I first thought, I learned from what I call fuzzy photography, so here's a macro lens, I shot this bug here and it's a dragonfly, right, the dragonfly is in focus, it's a narrow focal plane that leaves everything else in a fog, you see that in wedding photography as well, the bride is standing there, the groom, the groomsman, the bridesman, all the gals, her parents, their parents, and you don't see any of them, it's just focused on her.

So, it's fogged out, it's still fogged out. Anyway, this is an interesting phenomenon and I'm going to tell you why, how I learned anatomy from that phenomenon with several cadavers, so Mr. Gappe, here he is at a distance, his skin layer, then his superficial fascia, and then his deep fascia, that's the sequence that I include in my DVDs and it's a very basic distance shot sequence to just give, here's the idea folks, it's kind of tan, you take away the tan bit, it's kind of yellow, you take away the yellow bit, it's kind of whitish, that's just the idea of whole body layers that we transition through. Now if I, I'm one guy in the lab for 26 days, I focus in on this, you'll see it's not a complete dissection, I have to do a whole lot more work over a whole lot more period of time than I've had to do a perfect dissection of Mr. Gappe's entire deep fashion, so instead I focused on areas and took pictures of that, so this will be the money shot, the really cool book worthy picture of deep fascia as opposed to the camera drawn back, just giving you the general idea that there's this difference between superficial fashion and deep fashion. So this takes a lot of work to make an image like this, you have to sit down and scrape and such for quite a while and it really starts out looking something like that, so this is Flo, Flo is a female form, she was unfixed, I obtained this form in order to both demonstrate her entire superficial fashion, I wanted to show that it could be done in an unfixed form as well as a fixed form to show that the demonstration of the whole superficial fashion wasn't a function of embalming but it's a function of anatomy, I succeeded in that instance. Also I looked at her viscera and I'll show them to you as well, but we didn't really dissect her deep fascia or her muscle tissue at all, so this is kind of what Mr. Gappe's way looked out like when I started it and I plucked myself down after reflecting his superficial fascia and it's an incomplete dissection and I start scraping my little bits of yellow, I did that for a couple hours, several hours and then I'm hungry and I need coffee and guns. I go down to the cafeteria, I get coffee and guns and I talk to Steve the insurance man, he's been there for the same 20, 30, 24 years that I have, and we shoot the conversation and I come back and this tissue that I had just cleaned up for two hours is now covered with brown crispy bits, what's going on? I'm like, oh, brown crispy bits, I've got to do it over again, I do over so I pluck myself down, interestingly surrounded by 2,000 watts of halogen lamps that I bought from Home Depot to light up the scene for my cameras, I was freaking dissecting an easy day coming. So I take away all those brown crispy bits and Rajan the janitor comes by and chat.

Gil, Rajan, we chat for a good half an hour, we did it all the time, hours and hours of footage of me and Rajan talking about the doors. He's like, I've got to go to work, I'm like, I've got to go to work, okay, you wonder why my day took 17 hours. He goes walking away, I turn back to Mr. Agape and one of them finds his leg covered in brown crispy bits all over again, I clean him up, then I take a picture. I just see Flo's leg in the sky in Kentucky. Now this is Ray, so having done Flo, I thought wouldn't it be really cool to document all those pretty lines in a deep fascia in their different organizations, their different angles, their different stackings, wouldn't it be cool to show you all in a sequence of images, document the entire body for the deep fascia. That was my object with Ray, you make choices with unfixed cadavers because he can't do everything, he's only got about five days.

Well, being that self-effaced Saint Francis, he kind of felt rushed because I had brought friends in, I hired this laboratory, I got this body, I set up a studio inside the lab, I traveled from Florida, I was away from home for a week and a half, it cost me $5,000 for the project. And yet, I didn't want to make my friends wait for me to focus the camera, so I put it on automatic, right? I'd see my shot, I'd put the camera in front of it, put it on automatic, click go, take pictures all day long, go home, and see soft, not sharp, but soft images, none of which were demonstrating the very stringy bits that I was frigging staring at. And I come back the next day, I'm like, I suck, and I do it all over again, I go home and I get another collection of images, soft, because I'm the worst photographer of deep fascia in the world. But I'm the best photographer of filming fascia, because it turns out there was more anatomy there than my eyes were counting for.

I wasn't scraping away the filming fascia, and the camera, being set on automatic, hooked into the first focal plane that it encountered, which was the glare of the lights in the mucoidal puddle within the membrane on top of the deep fascia that the eyes could see through. So I saw the strings, the camera saw that. I assure you, there's a bunch of strings under there. But the camera is taking a picture of a membrane system. A membrane system. Here's Mr. Gappe's belly, I'm lifting it up and I'm really tearing apart a membrane system. Here's me dissecting Ray's belly. Now Ray died on Friday, God bless him, and rest his soul.

I dissected him on Monday. Very short span, he was wet. Not desiccated, not chemically cooked, just refrigerated. And still, there's a horizon of fuzz to be seen as I cut. But it looks nothing like on Mr. Gappe, right? Because it's wet. It's wet cotton candy. Wet cotton candy doesn't look like dry cotton candy.

But I did get this shot. This is the $5,000 money shot, folks. It's the only picture that I got from the whole week that I can show you. And isn't it a pretty picture of the deep fascia on the belly wall? Somehow, I managed to get the camera to focus on what I was looking at, rather than the membrane system on top of it. And I blow up that very same picture. Now it's only worth $2,500.

You see there's a puddle on it, right? You see that? Let's look into that puddle.


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