Mushroom Death Suit Consumes Body After Human Wearing It Dies_

The Mushroom Death Suit by artist Jae Rhim Lee is a body suit laced with flesh-eating mushroom spores that is designed to help a dead body decompose naturally. Lee has been “training” the mushrooms to consume her body by feeding spore cultures tissue samples and excretions from her own body. The mushrooms and the suit are part of Lee’s Infinity Burial Project, an initiative to promote death awareness and acceptance while providing a environmentally friendly alternative to chemical embalming, cremation, and casket burial.

I am interested in cultural death denial, and why we are so distanced from our bodies, and especially how death denial leads to funeral practices that harm the environment – using formaldehyde and pink make-up and all that to make your loved one look vibrant and alive, so that you can imagine they’re just sleeping rather than actually dead. The US government recently upgraded formaldehyde from a probable carcinogen to a known carcinogen, so by trying to preserve the body we poison the living.

So I was thinking, what is the antidote to that? For me the answer was this mushroom – the Infinity Mushroom. It is a symbol of a new way of thinking about death.

via New Scientist

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5 Responses to Mushroom Death Suit Consumes Body After Human Wearing It Dies_

  1. AM says:

    Hey- How ‘safe’ is it for living persons to have concentrations of flesh eating mushroom spores around?
    How easy is it for those spores to be inhaled and damage immunocompromised individuals?
    Etc. etc.
    Just curious.
    The idea of the mushroom death suit is interesting and seems more ‘natural’ than the more common embalming/burial process.
    Just not sure I’m comfortable with ‘farmed/trained’ flesh eating fungi spore-ing around.

  2. I believe the answer is learning to accept death as a natural part of live. We don’t talk about it and when it comes it’s always with great grief that people accept the departure of their loved ones.
    They just don’t realize that death is part of the chain, specially for elders and of ill people in general, it means freedom from pain and medical treatments that end up lengthening their lives with great costs to their sanity and life quality.
    Which is really not a surprise in a society where “selling” youth is profitable and where death is seen as defeat.
    I don’t want to sound like someone who yearns for death, I do not, but we are very easily fooled by society to think we’re never gonna die. Death is part of life, it is in our genes, we’re part of nature, we’re not special just because of self-consciousness.

  3. Witchdoctor says:

    The mushroom spore may well be related to the fungus Candida Albicans. Candida is a normal inhabitant of the large bowel. It has a job to do when the body dies, and that is to decompose the body and liquefy it so it can be absorbed by the earth. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust as the great engineer designed it to be.

    It would all work so much more efficiently if we as multiple cultures could get over our issues with death, and deal with corpses as they were meant to be dealt with.I know some will find this offensive, but if we burned the corpses and scattered the ashes we would be wasting far less space in terms of land use.

  4. nicofrog says:

    great idea; the normal death responses are repugnant to me. I am a Worm farmer, this is what I came up with to dispose of the bodies of 4 unfortunate sheep ,bury at ground level in a pile of woodchips 2′ deep add one handfull of redworms , cover top to prevent rain leeching,wait 6 months ,nothing left but rather attractive sepia toned bones.

    soil accomplished,no space taken, a simple plaque on a long lived tree,or a big sturdy rock will do as “memorial”space if needed ,the mycillia already present in the woodchips,and the Bacteria already present in the bodies is plenty sufficient to do the job,NICE ARTWORK though! good to bring people to this place THANKS!! die well!

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