Saturday, November 24, 2012


wired | Most people have pulled long-forgotten vegetables from their refrigerator's depths at least once, and just the memory is enough to make a stomach turn. But one man's fridge mold is another man's still life. Estonian artist Heikki Leis' Afterlife is a veritable rotting cornucopia of vegetables photographed long past their prime.

"I was inspired by some potatoes I had once left out in a pot for too long. They had started to mold and on closer examination the colors and textures looked interesting enough to take some photos," Leis wrote in an e-mail.

Leis then started experimenting with various fruits and vegetables. He sometimes let them decay for two months, keeping them covered so they wouldn't dry out. When Leis finished, he was truly finished. "I'm tempted to say I ate them, but the truth is I just threw them away," he said.

Leis said he'd be open to an expert's analysis of his rotting concoctions, so Wired invited mycologist Kathie Hodge of Cornell University, who's working on a book about food-decaying fungi, to look at the work.
There are thousands of molds out there, and "we see them all the time and yet we don't look at them. They live with us and we automatically throw these things out," said Hodge, who took Wired on a tour of Leis' moldy world, though not without a warning.

"Getting them to this level is probably not a good idea, so don't try this at home!" she said.


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