Speculative fiction and contemporary artists' film and video from East and Southeast Asia

Lead Research Organisation: Courtauld Institute Of Art
Department Name: History of Art


If, as José Muñoz (2009) argues, 'queerness is that thing that lets us feel that this world is not enough', then there is nothing quite so queer as speculative fiction. Fantasy has been framed by queer thinkers as a site of radical political potential which can both challenge the limits of what is discursively figured as 'natural' or 'real' (Butler 2004) and articulate an 'anticipatory illumination of a queer world' (Muñoz 2009). Similarly, in literature and film studies speculative fiction and its genres-fantasy and science fiction, for example-are considered a means of 'looking sideways at reality' (Fowkes 2010) and contesting hegemonic discourses. Yet connections between queer theory and speculative fiction remain under-explored. Discussions of speculative fiction, moreover, invariably focus on literature, cinema, and television. My research teases out connections between queerness and the speculative in film, video, and multi- media installation works by artists from East and Southeast Asia. Bringing together scholarship on 'queer Asia' (Wilson 2006) with studies of speculative fiction, especially the fantastic, it theorises queer speculative narratives as 'fabulous' and examines fabulous critiques of the body, time, and globalisation. And these critiques, I argue, make space for alternative, queerer ways of seeing and being in the world.


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