Some artist Natascha Stellmach claims to have received the "stolen" ashes of Kurt Cobain and - oh, stop my aching art-school pranked sides - is going to smoke them:
“This final act”, Stellmach told Artworld magazine, “will release Cobain from the media circus and into the ether.”
Asked how she she came by having the ashes, she said "That's confidential and kind of magic. They came to me. And I am setting him free.”
Of course, there's every chance she doesn't actually have Kurt's ashes at all, and is merely engaging in some sort of publicity stunt to draw attention to herself. If she does - she claims the ashes came to her in a way "magical and confidential" - then burning them would seem to be destroying the evidence of a crime; possessing them is holding stolen goods and that's just the legal ramifications.
The damaged moral and ethical judgement, though, is even more obvious - how is turning yourself into a media circus releasing Kurt from his? And condemning every documentary made about him from now until the eventual collapse of capitalism to have to end with "a mentally-ill woman inhaled what remained of his body" bringing an end, rather than just crowbarring a new chapter? What gives Stellmach the right to decide what happens to Kurt, over his daughter, over his wife?
Perhaps she's going to do this for everyone. Perhaps we should all deliver the corpses and bones and ashes of all our deceased to her house - in the same way parents try to stop their kids from smoking by making them do a full packet of twenty in one go, the solution would be to ask Stellmach to work her way through a charnel house.
And if she doesn't have the ashes? Exploiting the loss of Kurt's ashes, publicly announcing to a sixteen year-old girl that the remains of her too-publicly dead father are going to be used in a stunt, even if you're planning to say 'ha-ha not really' at some point in the future, seems somewhat inhumane and cruel. And what worthy sort of artist would lack empathy to such an extent?