Artist Trains Mushrooms To Consume Her Body

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When she dies, artist Jae Rhim Lee doesn’t want to be buried in her finest clothes, or for her ashes to be scattered across a serene pond. Lee wants to be eaten. By fungi, that is. Lee wears a bodysuit that holds fungi close to her body so that she can train them to devour her after she dies. Her fungi body suit is part of the Infinity Burial Project, funded by the Creative Capital Foundation, the Institüt für Raumexperimente Universität der Künste Berlin, and the MAK Center for Art + Architecture.

The Infinity Burial Project is focused on the idea that there must be a more natural option for what to do with a body postmortem, namely an individual engagement with the decomposition process. Lee’s bodysuit uses a unique kind of mushroom that normally attaches to wood or decaying material in forests. She believes she can train the fungi to attached to her body so that it decomposes and remediates toxins in human tissue.

In an interview with New Scientist, Lee said:

“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.”

While innovation is certainly to be admired, and finding green ways to deal with the body when someone has died is a somewhat noble pursuit, it is still completely weird and off the wall that Lee wears a bodysuit training mushrooms to consume her body. Check out the graphic below to see how the body suit works:

(via New Scientist)

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