Sick: Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist

Directed by Kirby Dick

(1997, 92min)

This often painfully honest, funny and beautiful indie documentary premiered at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize. It follows the life and on-screen death of Bob Flanagan, a Los Angeles-based performance artist and poet, who at 42 years old, was the longest-surviving sufferer of cystic fibrosis in the United States. The documentary particularly focuses on Flanagan’s medically and BDSM-inspired art practice, which he presents as therapeutic and invigorating. It also discusses different ways of experiencing and looking at bodies that don’t quite fit the norm.

This documentary film will be followed by a discussion between Dr Karin Sellberg (UQ) and Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens (SCU), who both specialise in gender studies and medical humanities. They will also give a very brief introduction to the film.

WARNING! This film includes footage of BDSM-inspired art practice, which may be disturbing to some viewers.


Each documentary is introduced by one or two invited speakers, who will give some background and lead an informal discussion, with plenty of opportunity for Q&A. All students and staff at UQ are welcome to attend, but we particularly encourage the participation of undergraduate students in their second or third year, as well as honours and RHD students.

7 November, 4 pm, Seminar Room, Level 4 Forgan Smith Tower, University of Queensland, St Lucia


Seminar Room, Level 4 Forgan Smith Tower (Building #1)