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'Invisible' – Free screening and expert panel discussion

Presented by the UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities

"This film is a fascinating documentary–art film hybrid, which opens with the discovery that breast milk in the Arctic contains levels of PCBs seven times higher than global average, and it tries to trace the origins of that contamination. Along the way we discover much that is fascinating about Inuit practices relating to (amongst other things) food, mothering and song/poetry, and we are encouraged to reflect on the numerous, invisible chemicals that we encounter everyday, and the 'interconnectedness of all things'." – Dr Claire Thomson (UCL Scandinavian Studies)

We think of the Arctic as a pristine wilderness. When scientists went to collect breast milk from Inuit mothers, they were expecting to find the purest milk anywhere on earth. But the levels went off the scale. The milk of the Inuit mothers was loaded with chemicals migrating from the south.

'Invisible' tells the story of how man-made chemicals are building up in our bodies and being passed from mother to child. These hormone-disrupting substances are causing havoc with the reproductive systems and neurological health of animals and humans across the planet and now scientists cannot find a single woman anywhere in the world who does not have chemicals such as flame retardants in her breast milk.

In this beautiful and thought-provoking film, artist and film-maker Roz Mortimer leads us on a hypnotic journey to the high Arctic. Using medieval texts and maps to question hierarchies of knowledge, Mortimer shows us epic scenes of contemporary Inuit life, explores their traditional connection to the earth and stages dramatic tableaux vivant in landscapes of frozen sea.

'Invisible' has a unique musical score including free-yoik from Sami musician Wimme Saari, live and operatic throat-singing from Inuit artist Tanya Tagaq and an exquisite theremin composition from Michael Kosmides.

Filmed entirely on Baffin Island, Nunavut, in the communities of Iqaluit and Qikiqtarjuaq.


  • Roz Mortimer, Director of 'Invisible'
  • Ed Gillespie, Co-Founding Director of Futerra
  • Professor David Napier (UCL Medical Anthropology)
  • Dr Claire Thomson (UCL Scandinavian Studies)
  • Professor Matthew Gandy (UCL Urban Lab)


Page last modified on 26 sep 11 17:40