Sophie Guo - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Sophie Guo

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Sophie Guo

PhD student

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25 Jun

Thesis title: Contemporary art and visual culture from East Asia in the age of biotechnology  

Supervised by Dr. Wenny Teo and Dr. Jo Applin 

In this thesis I focus on how biotechnology— understood as the technological use of biological reproduction and transgenic practices, and of biosecurity and life-control systems in surveillance and military capabilities— transforms image making in the context of East Asia from the 1990s to the present day. Looking at the practices of artists and designers such as Li Shan, Qiu Anxiong, Lu Yang, Ting Tong Chang and Hideo Kojima, I examine the ways in which Asian artists take on the visual strategies of biotechnology, and the implications of these for gender, sexuality, subjectivity and the conception of ecology. I ask how Asian artists engage local knowledge and visual tropes from the native folk religions in their diverse responses to the contemporary biotechnological condition, often uncritically seen as originating in ‘the West’. Further, I explore to what extent a post-anthropocentric ecological ethics is formed through the artists’ distinct means of engaging with the discourses of new biomedical technologies.


  • Autumn and Spring term 2019: Teaching Assistant for BA 2 Frameworks for Interpretation
  • Spring 2020: Guest Lecturer, Global China (MA)


  • PhD History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art (2017- present)
  • MA History of Art, University College London (2014-2015)
  • Special options: Art as Theory: the Re-making of Criticism with Prof. Briony Fer; Politics of the Image: Germany 1890 to 1945 with Prof. Frederic Schwartz
  • Thesis: Connecting the creative participants online and offline: The web-enaged projects of Ye Funa and Aspartime, under Prof. Briony Fer.
  • BA History of Art, University College London (2011-2014)

Other Academic Activities

  • Editorial Board, immediations, the peer-reviewed postgraduate journal of the Courtauld Institute of Art, 2019
  • Research Assistant to Dr. Wenny Teo, Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art

Other Professional Activities

Research Interests

  • East Asian art and visual culture
  • Gender, sexuality and the body
  • Medical humanities and feminist technoscience studies
  • Material culture and mediums
  • Transculturation and globalisation





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