19 May 2014

Jae Rhim Lee Infinitiy Burial Project Installation At FACT Liverpool As Part Of Science Fiction New Death 2

At the age of twenty one I have had to make my peace with the fact that one day I’m going to bite the dust and there’s not a thing I can do about it. When you live with anxiety – and therefore the constant fear that something awful will happen on a daily basis – this is something you have to accept.

Talking about death so openly is not something that we in the west are usually comfortable with but one piece in Science Fiction: New Death is aiming to change that. The Infinity Burial Project by Jae Rhim Lee, is a new concept of funeral practice that challenges our denial of death. A person would be buried in this suit laced with mushroom spores that will decompose and filter out toxins in the body which would normally pollute the soil.

Speaking to friends, family and visitors of the exhibition, I’ve found that this is the one piece that makes people step back in polite horror. Some have said the idea of something ‘eating away’ at them is too much to handle and others say that this is the opposite of what they believe is supposed to happen upon death. Even Billy Connolly, who is trying to open up a dialogue about death with his Big Send Off, on ITV, found the Infinity Burial Suit, a little too bizarre to comprehend.

I think this is a great idea. Anxiety is all about control, or rather, having to accept a lack of control. I may not be able to control whether I go out in a blaze of glory or slapstick fall down the stairs but the Infinity Burial Project allows me to control exactly what my body can do after death. And giving back to the planet you’ve spent your life on doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

Click here to see the artist Jae Rhim Lee's TED Talk "My mushroom burial suit".

@_LauraJane

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Science Fiction: New Death is open 11am - 6pm, Tuesday - Sunday, until 15 June. For more information about the exhibition and the Infinity Burial Suit, please visit the New Death project page.