I decided to create a five canvas panel to show the different stages of decomposition. I used acrylic paints, a sharpie, and a healthy dose of nihilism. There is some aspect of nudity, but it is for artistic purpose and because clothes go through a completely different process of decomposition than the human body. Click photos for better quality.

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  1. “In A Week” by Faith Spears provides a five-part visual for the five stages of decomposition in a human body. With canvas, acrylic paints, a Sharpie, and a healthy dose of nihilism, Faith depicts “Fresh Body,” “Bloating,” “Active Decay,” “Post Decay,” and “Dry Remain.” In the first stage, enzymes cause structures such as the heart to break down across the body. Because of Rigor Mortis, the body stiffens and cools down in temperature. In the second stage, bacteria in the body release gases that eventually attract insects to the body in the third stage. Throughout the third and fourth stages, insects speed the process of decomposition and begin to reveal the body’s skeleton. In the final stage, maggots have eaten away at the body and have left behind dry remains. “In A Week” by Hozier, which is a song recommended in the essay for this project, describes what happens toward the end: “After the insects have made their claim … so long, we’d become the flowers.” The area surrounding the dry remains has become a “necrobiome,” meaning that plant life thrives there. “In A Week” details well the process of decomposition through painting and music.

    Bethany David

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