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'So Fresh On Top, So Rotten Below' by Saskia Te Nicklin at Vin Vin, Vienna

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hard plastic (19 pcs, 140 gr) plastic bottles (4 pcs, 150 gr) plastic bags (25 pcs, 260 gr) flip-flops (2 pcs, 270 gr) raffia straps (3.26 kg) plastic cups (115 pcs, 750 gr)

Inventory like this gets regularly removed from stomachs of dead animals on beaches. Around the world, approximately one million birds and 100.000 marine mammals die each year from eating plastic or getting trapped in it. Beginning of this year, a 500 kg whale was beached on the shore of Mabini in the Philippines with 40 kg of plastic debris inside his stomach. Cause of death: starvation. Ingesting plastic gives whales a false sensation of fullness obviously without providing any nutrients. It leads to reduced weight, energy and swimming speed. Having no way of digesting or expelling the plastic, they die of hunger with a full belly.

Also humans consume plastic. An estimated 5 gr each week, equivalent to the weight of a credit card mostly through drinking water. Some of it leaves our body again, but what stays are the toxins. Like bisphenol A. BPA-based plastic is clear and tough, and is made into a variety of common consumer goods, such as plastic bottles. BPA-derived substances are used to line water pipes and as coatings on the inside of food and beverage cans. In 2015, an estimated 4 million tonnes of BPA-based chemicals were produced, making it one of the highest volume of chemicals produced worldwide. It is also a xenoestrogen, exhibiting estrogen- mimicking, hormone-like properties also responsible for infertility. It seeps into the soil when we die together with all the other toxins in our bodies.
On average a human body nowadays contains traces of around 219 different toxins. Lead, mercury, pesticides... We get them from our environment (because we put them there), and give them back when we die, continuing the cycle of pollution. Each year, U.S. cemeteries bury more than 3 million liters of formaldehyde-containing embalming fluid. Cremating a single body requires enough fuel to fill two SUV tanks. One of the biggest crematories in Europe, Ohlsdorf in Hamburg burns around 15.000 bodies a year, almost one million liters of fuel. The formaldehyde that bodies are prepped with to slow decomposition often causes respiratory problems and cancer in funeral personal. In addition, bodies also get stuffed with fillers and cosmetics to make them look alive. So fresh on top, so rotten blow...

Jae Rhim Lee is the founder of the Decompiculture Society which advocates for a cultural shift from a tradition of death denial and body preservation to one of decompiculture, a term coined by mycologist Timothy Miles in 2003. A radical acceptance of death and decomposition. She founded Coeio, a company developing the Infinity Burial Suit. A biodegradable suit of cotton, mushrooms and other microorganisms that help cleanse the body and soil of toxins and deliver important nutrients from the body to surrounding plants. In March this year, former Beverly Hills 90210 star Luke Perry died of a stroke and made headlines when it became known he was buried in the „mushroom suit“. Decomposing, seeping, dissolving, nurturing, in harmony with nature.

— Victoria Dejaco

21.11.19 — 18.1.20

Vin Vin

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