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In An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, Taryn Simon compiles an inventory of what lies hidden and out-of-view within the borders of the United States. She examines a culture through documentation of subjects from domains including: science, government, medicine, entertainment, nature, security, and religion. Confronting the divide between those with and without the privilege of access, Simon’s collection reflects and reveals that which is integral to America’s foundation, mythology and daily functioning. 

This cryopreservation unit holds the bodies of Rhea and Elaine Ettinger, the mother and first wife of cryonics pioneer, Robert Ettinger. Robert, author of The Prospect of Immortality and Man into Superman is still alive. The Cryonics Institute offers cryostasis (freezing) services for individuals and pets upon death. Cryostasis is practiced with the hope that lives will ultimately be extended through future developments in science, technology, and medicine. When, and if, these developments occur, Institute members hope to awake to an extended life in good health, free from disease or the aging process. Cryostasis must begin immediately upon legal death. A person or pet is infused with ice-preventive substances and quickly cooled to a temperature where physical decay virtually stops. 

Director of Jury Consultation, David Klein, and Vice President of Jury Consulting, James Dobson, monitor and analyze mock trial proceedings and jury deliberations in order to assist their clients in developing effective trial strategies. Mock juries are an integral part of litigation consulting, a little-known professional field with annual profits of approximately $3 billion. The estimated cost of a single jury simulation is $60,000. Jurors for simulations are jury-eligible individuals from the jurisdiction where the actual case will be tried. They are recruited to accurately reflect the socio-demographic backgrounds of that jurisdiction’s population.

The patient in this photograph is 21 years old. She is of Palestinian descent and living in the United States. In order to adhere to cultural and familial expectations regarding her virginity and marriage, she underwent hymenoplasty. Without it she feared she would be rejected by her future husband and bring shame upon her family. She flew in secret to Florida where the operation was performed by Dr. B. S., a plastic surgeon she located on the internet. The purpose of hymenoplasty is to reconstruct a ruptured hymen, the membrane which partially covers the opening of the vagina. It is an outpatient procedure which takes approximately 30 minutes and can be done under local or intravenous anesthesia. Dr. Stern charges $3,500 for hymenoplasty. He also performs labiaplasty and vaginal rejuvenation.

At Mansfield Correctional Institution, death row inmates are permitted one hour of outdoor recreation per day in individual or group containment areas known as cages or bullpens. Inside segregated cages there is only a chin-up bar and inmates are not permitted to bring any items with them. In non-segregated cages there is a stationary basketball net and they are permitted to bring with them items including a basketball, radio, deck of cards, and cigarettes.

This flask contains Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that is infecting human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and replicating. It will be used to study the neutralizing potential of antibodies against HIV, in both individuals infected with the virus and participants in vaccine studies. The HIV Vaccine Trials Network was formed when the federal government reorganized its HIV vaccine research program in 1999. It is a division of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. There are no documented cases of anyone infected with HIV developing sterilizing immunity. More than 42 million people worldwide are infected with HIV. At the current rate of infection, experts predict that 90 million people will be HIV carriers by 2010. A new infection occurs approximately every 10 seconds.

In the United States, all living white tigers are the result of selective inbreeding to artificially create the genetic conditions that lead to white fur, ice-blue eyes and a pink nose. Kenny was born to a breeder in Bentonville, Arkansas on February 3, 1999. As a result of inbreeding, Kenny is mentally retarded and has significant physical limitations. Due to his deep-set nose, he has difficulty breathing and closing his jaw, his teeth are severely malformed and he limps from abnormal bone structure in his forearms. The three other tigers in Kenny’s litter are not considered to be quality white tigers as they are yellow-coated, cross-eyed, and knock-kneed.

Watch video interview at TED

© All copyright remains with photographer Taryn Simon

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