Bob Flanagan (December 27, 1952- January 4, 1996) was an American writer, poet, musician, performance artist, and comic. He also had cystic fibrosis and used BDSM to convert his pain into pleasure, and into his art. He was the subject of the documentary SICK: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist a film by Kirby Dick, which films the final years of Bob's life.
Flanagan is featured in the widely banned music video for the song "Happiness in Slavery" by Nine Inch Nails. In the video, he plays a character who worships a machine. He offers a candle to an altar, before ceremonially undressing and washing. The slave (Bob) then lies down on an intelligent torture machine that molests and ultimately kills him, all with a mixture of pain and pleasure on his face.
He also had a bit part in Godflesh's Crush my Soul video, as a suitably blasphemous, upside-down suspended Christ, hoisted on to the ceiling of a Cathedral by Sheree Rose.
While some of his performances were notable for acts of extreme masochism (on at least one occasion he hammered a nail through his penis, while cracking jokes), he also wrote rather clever, humorous songs, many of them intended as much for children as adults.
His latest posthumous piece by his widow Sheree Rose entitled Bobaloon, was shown in Japan, featuring a 20 foot tall inflatable Flanagan complete with pierced penis, ball gag and straitjacket.
The Wedding of Everything (1983)
The Kid is the Man (1978)
Slave Sonnets (1986)
Fuck Journal (unpublished)
A Taste of Honey with David Trinidad (1990)
Bob Flanagan: Supermasochist (1993)