Andrew Cummings - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Andrew Cummings

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Andrew Cummings

PhD student

Thesis title: Strange Encounters in Contemporary Art from East and Southeast Asia, 1990–Present

Supervised by Dr. Wenny Teo (The Courtauld Institute of Art) and Dr. Sook-Kyung Lee (Tate)

Funded by AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Award

My research project examines the work of several contemporary artists from across East and Southeast Asia. Sara Ahmed describes the collective as an affective community oriented towards a particular future, and writes that the stranger is the ‘outsider inside’ that the collective defines itself against. Like Ahmed, I understand the figure of the ‘stranger’ not as essential but as contingent, produced in those moments when we feel or are made to feel out of kilter with that community because of our emotional responses or the futures we pursue.

The works I examine stage a series of meetings with strangers, or ‘strange encounters’. These uncanny, unsettling encounters estrange us from naturalised constructs of desire, the body, and the human, and invite us instead to take pleasure in following deviant paths to perverse speculative futures. The strangers that appear in my thesis include cyborgs, parasites, aliens, spectres, plant-human hybrids, and hydras. My research draws upon a range of critical and queer theorists beyond Ahmed, including Neel Ahuja, Paul B. Preciado, Petrus Liu, and Donna Haraway. I also look to overlapping local and transnational histories of art, popular culture, and politics to interpret what these strangers have to tell us about the ways we inhabit our bodies and the world, remember the past, and envision the future.


  • 2017–present: PhD Candidate, AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership ‘New Media Art Histories in Asia’, The Courtauld Institute of Art & Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational
  • 2015–2016: MA Anthropology of Media, SOAS, University of London
  • 2008–2012: BA Modern Languages, University of Oxford


Conference Papers

Research Interests

  • East and Southeast Asian art and politics
  • Globalisation and contemporary art
  • Gender, sexuality, and desire
  • Queer theory
  • Horror, fantasy, and science fiction
  • Speculative futures and utopia
  • The human, technology, and ecology


  • Summer 2020: Art History Summer University (introduction to Art History for Year 12 students)
  • Spring 2020: Guest Lecturer, Global China (MA)
  • Summer 2019: Teaching Assistant, Foundations – Modern and Contemporary Art (BA)
  • Autumn 2018 & 2019: Teaching Assistant, Core Methodologies (MA)


  • Huayu Enrichment Scholarship, Taiwan Ministry of Education (July–August 2019)

Other Activities

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