Monday, August 24, 2009

The Stories Behind Backspacer (White/Hirst)

 As we wait patiently for September 20th, the stories behind the nine Backspacer images continue to reveal themselves.

Though we don't know the story behind the drums, the image of the astronaut is clearly Edward Higgins White II, the first American to walk in space, later killed during an Apollo training mission.

The Fixer artwork seems to be derived from either Damien Hirst's sculpture, Hymn, or the Humbrol childrens' toy on which it was based.  Even though Hirst was sued for his work, we'll go ahead and call this Hirst's story, since I have no idea who designed the toy.  It should also be noted that Hirst is the first of our Backspacer stories to be a living person.  Personally, that makes think that we're wrong about it, but that's for Pearl Jam to know and us to wonder.

In 2000, Hirst was sued for breach of copyright over his sculpture, Hymn, which was a 20-foot (6.1 m), six ton, enlargement of his son Connor's 14" Young Scientist Anatomy Set, designed by Norman Emms, 10,000 of which are sold a year by Hull-based toy manufacturer Humbrol for £14.99 each.  Hirst paid an undisclosed sum to two charities, Children Nationwide and the Toy Trust in an out-of-court settlement,  as well as a "good will payment" to Emms.  The charitable donation was less than Emms had hoped for. Hirst also agreed to restrictions on further reproductions of his sculpture.

Looking for the other stories?

1. ??

2. Damien Hirst

3. Howard Thurston

4. ??

5. Charles Babbage

6. Edward Higgins White II

7. Guiligan, The Robot, and some mystery kid

8. Johnny "Guitar" Watson

9. Evelyn McHale

The discussion continues here.