BRING OUT YOUR DEAD
“Salvage: Recycling the Dead” is more thought experiment than serious proposal, but it does suggest that we explore every possible avenue in a peak-everything world, no matter the level of discomfort it brings. “As a designer, I am concerned and driven by the ways we are able to detach ourselves from the source of our resource,” the designer tells Ecouterre. “Many in the western hemisphere see humankind as being separate from nature, as opposed to part of it. We identify materials as being ‘man-made,’ [which suggests] that the resources used in the making did not originate in nature. We are at odds with what is and should be available to us.”
Grevile suggests that we explore every possible avenue in a post-everything world, no matter our level of discomfort.
The human body, after all, is a gold mine of base and precious metals, including copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, and iron. Still, even the most pragmatic among us is likely to give pause over the social and emotional implications of harvesting the dead.
The debate Greville incites parallels current debates over the ownership of our bodies. Among her inspirations is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book Rebecca Skloot wrote about a poor Southern tobacco farmer whose cells were taken without her knowledge. “The book questions whether we should have ownership over body parts removed for medical reasons or if these waste elements should be seen as fair game for the medical research community, in order to progress medical research for the greater good,” she tells us.
Greville’s line of questioning is only the beginning. “There is much more to be investigated and I hope to continue develop my ideas further over the coming years,” she adds. “The next phase will focus on interrogating the material qualities within the ash.”