Day 168: Jae Rhim Lee- my mushroom burial suit

Apparently we have 219 toxic pollutants in our bodies. To Jae Rhim Lee, this says three things: don’t become a cannibal, we are both responsible for and the victims of our own pollution and our bodies are filters and storehouses for environmental toxins.
According to Lee, our current funeral practices exacerbate this pollution. Cremation releases toxic substances back into the atmosphere. Traditional funerals are worse: preserving formaldehyde causes respiratory and other problems in funeral home personnel, while even those buried without embalming still have the natural toxins in their bodies released into the environment.
To combat this, Lee created, ‘The Burial Project.’ After learning that mushrooms can cleanse the soil of toxins, she set herself on creating an ‘infinity mushroom’, which could decompose bodies and clean the toxins while delivering nutrients to neighbouring plants. Today, she collects the hair, skin and nails that she sloughs off and feeds them to mushrooms. Those that grow the biggest, she chooses to be infinity mushrooms so that they will recognise her body when she dies.
In this talk, Lee is wearing pretty radical ninja pyjamas, which are the second prototype of the burial suit she’s working on. She plans to infuse these suits with the mushroom spores and add elements that speed toxin remediation and decomposition.
Lee already has a few people who’ve volunteered their bodies to the project testing. From talking to these people, she’s learned they have a common desire to accept death and their connection to the environment. To continue development of this perspective, Lee formed the ‘Decompiculture Society.’ As the saying goes, we came from dust and will return to dust.


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