Artist and TED Fellow Jae Rhim Lee re-imagines the relationships between the body and the world.

Why you should listen

Jae Rhim Lee is a visual artist and mushroom lover. In her early work, as a grad student at MIT, she built systems that reworked basic human processes: sleeping (check out her it-just-might-work vertical bed from 2004), urinating and eating (and the relationship between the two). Now she's working on a compelling new plan for the final human process: decomposition.

Her Infinity Burial Project explores the choices we face after death, and how our choices reflect our denial or acceptance of death’s physical implications. She's been developing a new strain of fungus, the Infinity Mushroom, that feeds on and remediates the industrial toxins we store in our bodies and convert our unused bodies efficiently into nutrients. Her Infinity Burial System converts corpses into clean compost. She was in residence at the MAK Center in Los Angeles this fall working on the project. And if this vision of life after death appeals to you, sign up to become a Decompinaut yourself.

What others say

"Jae Rhim Lee's work challenges the boundaries prescribed by society and 
culture between self and other by proposing unorthodox relationships for the 
mind/body/self." — MIT

Jae Rhim Lee’s TED talks

Jae Rhim Lee on the TED Blog

Quotes from Jae Rhim Lee

By trying to preserve our dead bodies, we deny death, poison the living and further harm the environment.
Jae Rhim Lee
TEDGlobal 2011 • 1M views Oct 2011
Ingenious, Fascinating
I imagine the Infinity Mushroom as a symbol of a new way of thinking about death and the relationship between my body and the environment.
Jae Rhim Lee
TEDGlobal 2011 • 1M views Oct 2011
Ingenious, Fascinating