Self-Initiated 2010

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Physical decay and death are natural processes, without which there could be no new life.
However, traditional existentialism focuses on how people make sense of life in the shadow of death.

Bodies of Change is a critical research project exploring the essential complementarity between life and death, by promoting an active connection between the human body, the microbial bodies and the cyclical functioning of the ecosystem – at the end of our life.

The project focuses on developing a comprehensive understanding in regard to regenerative cycles of decomposition, as carried out by fungal micro-organisms. Fungi are in fact the main decomposers and recyclers of the natural world, as their role and skills are of fundamental importance when it comes to decomposition and transformation of any organic substrate, favouring the consequent cycling of elements.

Hence, fungi can help us gathering a greater understanding about the positive values that can be found not only in life, but also in death. This, particularly when looking at death as an act of essential, cyclical transformation of the organic elements composing our bodies.

By engaging in an active collaboration with mycologists, Bodies of Change unravels novel opportunities to help us reconnecting with the ecosystem also at the end of our life, critically examining and questioning scientific and cultural subjects, which mostly often are treated as taboos or happen to be out of reach for the general audience.

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Chrysalis – The Mycelium Shroud
“…if we are no longer dressing for life, what are we dressing for?”

Consisting of a hand-made felt shroud inoculated with selected fungal mycelia, Chrysalis is a prototype product directly challenging the diffused attitude of denial that most traditional burial practices contribute to enhance, while harming the environment and wasting energy.

When activated in the presence of the suitable conditions that are found within the soil, the natural mycelium-technology embedded in Chrysalis contributes to promote and speed up the decomposition process of the deceased body, collecting and neutralising toxic elements stored within the body, and distributing the nutrients harnessed from the body to the surrounding life forms for new life to sprout.

By triggering such transformative process, Bodies of Change works on both a functional and philosophical level, exploring reflections and contributing to demystify feelings of anxiety originating from the lack of acceptance for the loss of a beloved one.

This, by transporting the process of decomposition of human remains to an entirely safe natural level, through an ecological and cyclical re-connection with our ever-changing environment.