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