Okay, here’s a strange one: Bioartist Jae Rhim Lee wears this black suit to train fungus to eat her body when she dies.
Yes, you heard correctly. The suit is covered in mushroom spores and she’s “training” them to live on human flesh, bone and waste. Why, you ask?
She doesn’t like the way we do funerals, with formaldehyde and cosmetics, and she thinks we harm the environment by putting these chemicals into the ground by burying bodies.
So when she dies, these mushrooms will eat her and enrich the soil, instead of poisoning it. Hmm, well this is certainly an interesting idea!
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.