As Courtney Love cedes all rights to Cobain’s image, where it will be used in an age of CGI and holograms is anyone’s guess
Even the background of this picture is a ghost. Kurt Cobain stands on West 42nd Street in Manhattan in 1993, in front of a semi-derelict cinema bearing the words Men Don’t Protect You Anymore. The photographer had noticed it and Cobain dug the idea of posing in front of it. Soon he would be gone and so would the grungy squalor of this part of New York, reclaimed and turned into a street of multiplexes, safe for tourists. Cobain shot himself in 1994. This week, it emerged in reports that his widow Courtney Love has ceded all rights in the licensing of his name and image to their daughter Frances Bean in return for a large loan.
These “publicity rights” are said to be immensely valuable. Of course they are: in a world where the dead can be made to walk and talk, images of dead celebrities may turn out to be among the most valuable commodities of this century.
There has not, so far, been a hologram appearance by Cobain at a music festival to match the recent return of Tupac Shakur to live performance. Tupac, who was killed in 1996, materialised as an electronic ghost at the Coachella music festival crying: “What the (blank) is up, Coachella?” It is clearly no coincidence that this bizarre Frankensteinian experiment took place in California, home to the world’s most advanced computer engineers. It is also no surprise that in a culture infected by digital utopianism it was reported using words like “resurrected” and “returned from the dead” when in reality the new Tupac is a digital zombie manipulated by its creator, not an animate being, not “resurrected” at all. What is the future for such zombies of the famous? What is the future for Kurt Cobain?
Food for thought. Click through for the rest!