CANCELLED - UK Film Premiere: Ghost Artist

CANCELLED - UK Film Premiere: Ghost Artist
21 April 2020, 5.30pm - 9.00pm
Other Events
King's College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS

Due to the current situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) we regret that this event has had to be cancelled

Poster (pdf)

17:30 Reception (Somerset Room)

18:30 Introduction and film screening of Ghost Artist (2019), directed by Steven Palmer and Edward Riche (Safra Lecture Theatre)

19:45 Roundtable discussion, with Q&A

Craig Moyes (CQFCS & KCL), Kélina Gotman (KCL), Patrick ffrench (KCL), Mark Betz (KCL), Brian Hurwitz (KCL), with Ghost Artist Director, Steven Palmer (University of Windsor)

Ghost Artist (2019, 66 mins)

A documentary film written and directed by Steven Palmer and Edward Riche
Rink Rat Productions, with support from the National Film Board of Canada
Premiered at the Atlantic International Film Festival in September 2019
When a visually arresting film is rediscovered after 50 years in an archival vault, it leads historian Steven Palmer to its uncredited maker, the multi-faceted Belgian-American artist, Robert Cordier, whom he finds still working in the Paris theatre at the age of 82.  Featuring the first unshielded footage of a hospital birth to be seen by a mass public, dizzying sequences of brain and open-heart surgery, and bizarre prostheses for thalidomide children, Cordier’s “Miracles in Modern Medicine” caused 20,000 people to faint at the Montreal World's Fair in 1967. As Cordier helps to revive the original film, the great storyteller unmasks the 1967 project as more than a simple succès de scandale, but as a remarkable avant-garde creation for the masses. Drawing on collaborations with such figures as James Baldwin, Jean Genet, Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and Michael McClure, Cordier's endlessly surprising creative networks provide the background to his eclectic artistic practice, whether it involves directing a Black Arts Movement theatre company (the Free Southern Theater) in the South during the Civil Rights era, making a gender-bending independent movie in early 1970s New York shot by the first woman cinematographer to be credited on a feature film (Deidi von Schaewen), or indeed fulfilling with surrealist brio what might have been a ordinary commission for the Man and his Health Pavilion at Expo67.
Ghost Artist is a documentary ideally suited to an interdisciplinary encounter that brings medical humanities into dialogue with scholars of the artistic and literary avant garde of the 1950-1970s, a topic pioneered by Kirsten Ostherr (who appears in the film) in Medical Visions (Oxford UP, 2014), but otherwise little studied. In addition to bringing to light the remarkable story Robert Cordier, the film is itself a clear example of creative research: it documents the research journey of medical historian and creative artist, Steven Palmer from his unexpected archival discovery of the lost film through his mapping of its connection to the artistic networks of New York and Paris in the fifties and sixties, and his project to restore the 1967 medical film to the canon through screenings at leading cinematheques in North America, Great Britain and Europe.

Kindly supported by King's College London, and the Centre for Quebec & French-Canadian Studies, IMLR 

All are welcome to attend this free event but places are limited so please register in advance


Cathy Collins
020 7862 8738