Artist Jae Rhim Lee wants people to rethink the way they approach death:
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?
Like most people who contemplate such issues, Lee inevitably arrived at the conclusion that she should train mushrooms to consume her body. And wear a specially-designed suit (pictured above) for that purpose:
I thought I could train a toxin-cleaning edible mushroom to eat my body. These mushrooms, which usually grow on wood and decaying material in the forest, can be trained to grow on pretty much any organic material and break it down. So I started collecting my hair, nails and skin so I could pick the best mushrooms to become Infinity Mushrooms, to recognise and eat my body after I die.
Project Website and Interview -via Boing Boing | Artist's Website | Photo: Jae Rhim Lee