Dr Sophie Guo

Associate Lecturer

Thesis: Bio-imaginaries: The Art of China and Its Diasporas in the Biotech Era (1989-Present)

Supervised by Dr Wenny Teo and Professor Jo Applin 

My research focuses on how biotechnology— understood as the technological use of biological reproduction and transgenic practices, and of biosecurity and life-control systems—expands artistic imaginaries pertaining to the body, race, gender, sexuality, and ecology within transnational Chinese cultures from the late 1980s to the present day. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the body has increasingly been defined in biomedical, biotechnical, and biopolitical terms. This has led to a renewed focus on the body, understood through the molecular interfaces of genetic, endocrine, and immune systems. The global health crisis has witnessed a proliferation of disease imaginaries and metaphors that associate the invisible viral agents with visible identity markers, often centred around gender and race. This new condition invites a reassessment of the ways in which biopower operates on the body and the implications of ‘biologised’ notions of identity when viewed through historical and socio-political lenses.

Delving into an array of artistic imaginaries in response to genome editing, agricultural biotechnology, assisted reproductive technologies, eugenics, hormone replacement therapy, disease outbreak narratives, bio-surveillance, and viral infection in the works of six artists—Li Shan, LuYang, Jes Fan, Candice Lin, Angela Su, and Pei-Ying Lin— my thesis offers a nuanced examination of the implications of chimerical hybridity, boundary-crossing, porosity, and fluidity for the body and human identity, shaped under biotechnological conditions within multiple geopolitical and cultural contexts. These contexts are studied in relation to the transforming society of socialist and post-socialist China, the migratory, diasporic, and minority experiences of Chinese communities in Europe and America, and the unique cultural, social, and political circumstances of Hong Kong and Taiwan as marginal, subordinated city/ state.


  • PhD History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • MA History of Art, University College London
  • BA History of Art, University College London


  • Associate Lecturer for BA3 Lessons in Critical Interpretation 2022/23
  • Spring 2020: Guest Lecturer, Global China (MA)
  • Autumn and Spring term 2019: Teaching Assistant for BA 2 Frameworks for Interpretation


Research Interests


  • Contemporary art and visual culture
  • Gender, sexuality, and race
  • Feminist and queer technoscience
  • Visual medical humanities
  • Contagion, disease, and immune system discourses
  • Sinophone studies, colonial histories, postcolonial theory, and globalisation
  • Parafiction

Conferences and Other Events

Other Activities


  • Research Associate, Barbican Art Gallery, 2022-2023
  • 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