My WdKA

Living Station

Week 26
  • Living Station Inspiration

Jae Rhim Lee: My mushroom burial suit

Here’s a powerful provocation from artist Jae Rhim Lee. Can we commit our bodies to a cleaner, greener Earth, even after death? Naturally — using a special burial suit seeded with pollution-gobbling mushrooms. Yes, this just might be the strangest TEDTalk you’ll ever see …

Why you should listen

Jae Rhim Lee is a visual artist and mushroom lover. In her early work, as a grad student at MIT, she built systems that reworked basic human processes: sleeping (check out her it-just-might-work vertical bed from 2004), urinating and eating (and the relationship between the two). Now she’s working on a compelling new plan for the final human process: decomposition.

Her Infinity Burial Project explores the choices we face after death, and how our choices reflect our denial or acceptance of death’s physical implications. She’s been developing a new strain of fungus, the Infinity Mushroom, that feeds on and remediates the industrial toxins we store in our bodies and convert our unused bodies efficiently into nutrients. Her Infinity Burial System converts corpses into clean compost. And if this vision of life after death appeals to you, explore the resources at Lee’s company, Coeio.

What others say

“Jae Rhim Lee’s work challenges the boundaries prescribed by society and 
culture between self and other by proposing unorthodox relationships for the 
mind/body/self.” — MIT