The Infinity Burial Project founded by Jae Rhim Lee, proposes alternatives for the postmortem body that promote and facilitate an individual engagement with the process of decomposition. The Project features the development of a unique strain of mushroom that decomposes and remediates toxins in human tissue, the development of a decomposition ‘kit’, burial suits embedded with decomposition activators, and a membership society devoted to the promotion of death awareness and acceptance and the practice of decompiculture (the cultivation of decomposing organisms).
The Infinity Mushroom (in progress) will be a unique strain(s) of fungi that will be trained to decompose bodies and remediate the industrial toxins in bodies. Using mycological tissue culture and growing techniques, Jae Rhim Lee is training fungi to consume her own body tissue and excretions–skin, hair, nails, blood, bone, fat, tears, urine, feces, and sweat. The fungi have been chosen for their potential to utilize the nutrients in human tissue and to remediate industrial toxins in soil. Once realized, the Infinity Mushroom will be applied to the other components of the project.
Cultivation of the Infinity Mushroom is a type of decompiculture–the cultivation of decomposing organisms, a concept developed by entomologist Timothy Myles. The cultivation process promotes acceptance of and a personal engagement with death and decomposition.
The first prototype of the Infinity Burial Suit is a body suit embroidered with thread infused with mushroom spores. The embroidery pattern resembles the dendritic growth of mushroom mycelium. The Suit is accompanied by an Alternative Embalming Fluid, a liquid spore slurry, and Decompiculture Makeup, a two-part makeup consisting of a mixture of dry mineral makeup and dried mushroom spores and a separate liquid culture medium. Combining the two parts and applying them to the body activates the mushroom spores to develop and grow.
The Decompiculture Kit contains biological elements, non-toxic chemicals, and odors associated with corpse decomposition and toxin remediation. The Kit will be housed in individual capsules which together form a ‘cocktail’ of elements which facilitate decomposition and toxin remediation. The kit will be incorporated into various objects such as makeup, non-toxic embalming fluids, and future Burial Suits.