New Death: Spotlight on Jae Rhim Lee
In the first of a series of spotlight articles, Joana Ventura looks at the work of Jae Rhim Lee
25 April 2014
The artist, designer, creative strategist and researcher Jae Rhim Lee has developed a unique strain of mushroom, known as Infinity Mushrooms, that helps the body to decompose after death.
The Inifinity Burial Project is designed to help you come to terms with death and to create a relationship between “the body” and “the world”. The project aims to develop an alternative to existing funeral practices which use energy and resources and attempt to preserve dead bodies with toxic chemicals, to challenge people’s cultural death denial and to connect both of these topics by exploring the relationship between death denial and environmental degradation in our postmortem practices.
Another of the artists projects is, Decomp Me, an iPad app that invites you to come to terms with death and decomposition. The app allows you to visualize your own body decomposing and transforming into clusters of Infinity Mushrooms using the iPad’s camera to photograph your body.
In 2008, Jae Rhim Lee founded the MIT FEMA Trailer Project - that examined the environmental, social and political history of environmental relief trailers that assisted with the recovery efforts for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Since 2011 she has been a TED Global Fellow and a Research Fellow in the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Techonology in Cambridge.
Her artwork has been shown not only in the US but also in Europe however Science Fiction: New Death is the first time her work has been seen in the UK. The exhibition is open now and runs until 22 June. For more information about The Infinity Burial Project and all the other artworks in the exhibition, please visit the project page.