I’d like to die in a Mushroom Death Suit

Artist Jae Rhim Lee has been working to create a Mushroom Death Suit. Yes, this is a suit that turns a corpse into living mushrooms. Specifically, these ninja-looking outfits have threads woven throughout that have been infused with very carefully selected mushroom spores suited to decompose bodies. An embalming fluid – to be released postmortem – spurs the spores into growth.

[Image by Mikey Siegel. Source: Infinity Burial Project.]

Lee calls the project the Infinity Burial Project. (I can imagine a very strong demand among pet owners!) Her work builds on a concept known as decompiculture, developed by entomologist Timothy Myles, who promoted the cultivation of organisms that assist in metabolic decay. (Myles studied the potential ability for termites to consume waste at landfills, detoxify hazardous substances and create biomass for animal feed.) Lee takes Myles’ proposal and uses it as a way to address both the universal fear of death and her personal desire to remediate the toxins her body will leave in her wake.

[Jae Rhim Lee wearing the Mushroom Death Suit. Image by Mikey Siegel. Source: Infinity Burial Project.]

I find something very comforting in the idea of growing mushrooms from my decomposing body. I also wonder, with a little shudder, whether or not those mushrooms would be edible.

Learn more from Lee herself in this TED talk:

–Lola Milholland

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