MIT graduate Jae Rhim Lee began research on the topic of toxins and human burial during her final year of her degree. She discovered that human bodies on average contain around 219 toxic pollutants which re-enter and harm the environment when we are buried or cremated. On top of this, traditional burial procedures use toxic cosmetics, fillers and formaldehyde to preserve the body in order for it to look less dead during the ceremony.
These days we are very aware of our impact on the planet and how destructive we are as a species. Our attitudes and sense of responsibility towards the planet have changed rapidly over recent years in an attempt to slow down or reverse the damage we have imposed, however when it comes to death and the disposal of our bodies there is still a sense of taboo and public denial.Jae believes that through the combination of art and science we can begin to change peoples perspective of death in order to create a better relationship with the environment that supports us in life.
She has developed a burial suit laced with mushroom mycelium which will feed on the body of the deceased and cleanse the toxins inside. By designing the suit in this visually striking way and presenting it so positively and candidly, she hopes that we will consider more openly the eventuality of our own deaths and become more accepting of the decomposition of our bodies.
Coeio (Y2016) The story of a green burial company. Available at: http://coeio.com/coeio-story/ (Accessed: 9/11/16).
Isaac H. (2014) 10 bizarre projects that combine art and science. Available at: http://listverse.com/2014/09/12/10-bizarre-projects-that-combine-art-and-science/ (Accessed: 9/11/16).