The Metropolitant team received numerous inquiries about an event we’ve covered. Some were complaints, others were curious and wanted to know more. We tracked down the organizer, artist and a few of the participants of the Zentai Art Festival “Invisible Whole” to find out more.
(All photo credits: Zentai Art Festival 2014 Facebook Page and Olivia Kwok.)
We take this opportunity to thank them for their time to answer our burning questions. We will keep their identity anonymous as most Zentai enthusiasts would prefer not to draw attention to themselves.
Let us get to know them better.
Metropolitant: Let us start with a little self introduction?
Yuzuru: I’m an artist and I do Zentai art project for the past four years. I use Zentai to create over 100 art videos and occasional performance art.
Khim: I’m a Part time lecturer at major arts institute in Singapore. Leisure but experimental artist who participates occasionally for arts exhibition. NDP Singapore 2012 logo winner design OrchidStar.
Zebra: I am a Singaporean, aged 30 this year.
Jo: I am a Singaporean in my 30s. I used to be Chartered Pilot working in the States. Thereafter, as a Flight Instructor in many countries. I’ve dropped flying career and decided to have a stationary and stable job in Singapore.
Metropolitant: What influenced you to pick up Zentai?
Yuzuru: A friend gave me a Zentai suit. My first contact with Zentai was during my years in school. There was a midnight program called ‘Tamori Club’ on the television. They featured Zentai fetishism in Tokyo. There were 2 men and 2 women wearing Zentai suits and rubbing each other with their body parts. I don’t think they were partners related in love relations, but perhaps condescending individuals interested about Zentai culture and their enthusiasm could make them feel free to connect with each other. This image stayed strongly with me for a long time.
Khim: Trying to explore and experience a different art form to collaborate and learn from the event.
Zebra: I have always been intrigued by the look and feel of thigh fit latex and Spandex wear. I chanced upon Zentai a couple of years back and I was instantly hooked.
Jo: I was involved performing in Chinese operas. 当一个人粉墨登场的时候，就跟Zentai一样。根本没人认识他/她。尝试Zentai就是与另一面的我与社会交流。
Metropolitant: In your opinion, do you think Zentai is a form or art, hobby or erotism?
Yuzuru: For me, Zentai can take away rules and limitation psychologically and physically. It can take away the social taboos in relationships between individuals, in this sense, under a Zentai suit, age, gender and surface beauty becomes neutralized and hence rendering it non-identical to me. Zentai is a combined medium where I can make videos and compose music to talk about different ideas through one theme. Zentai is my present process to bring about the idea of Unity (between individuals). There is no difference in any persons and we are all living this cycle of life. We are all, passenger of this spaceship earth.
Khim: Zentai is perception. It has no dimension nor depth. It is what you perceive it to be.
Zebra: For myself, Zentai is both a hobby and erotism.
Jo: 纯属艺术！It is rare in Singapore Arts!
Metropolitant: How to you feel when you wear the zentai outfits
Yuzuru: Allows me to concentrate on the performance, not be affected by the environment, be more energy sensitive due to the impaired senses.
Zebra: I love the feeling of how it hugs the entire body. Sight is impaired when I put on the Zentai and it gave me a deep sense of relaxation. It helps me relax. The anonymous look intrigues me. I like the way a person looked in the suit, where all the features are hidden, such that only a silhouette can be seen. I like the way it feel being enclosed in the suit. It gives me a sense of peace and relaxation. An avenue to escape from the everyday stress in our society.
Jo: 透明人。Just like, 我在‘明’，对方（观众）在‘暗’。I can see the people and people do not know who am I. 我体验了，普通人在做事的时候，不会有人察觉。当做些异常的公众表演，或多或少会引人注目。就像一个人静静的时候，没人管他。If s/he is going to make a fuss, it attracts attention.
Metropolitant: What goes through your mind when you were being photographed during the event and even gawked at in public spaces.
Yuzuru: It took me 4 years to get used to it.
Khim: Feels fun because I am just a form.
Zebra: I feel great. The event gave me a chance to be myself in Zentai. As I am in a group, it is doesn’t seems scary or weird anymore to be in Zentai in public. Perhaps I am a closet attention seeker. Being in Zentai allowed me to seek attention without recognizing me and passing judgement of me.
Jo: 眼前一切是虚空 – 假象呀！因为，对方傻傻要照相留念，为什么不要用记忆力存档呢？照片是evidence, proof会毁灭的。会毁灭的都是假象。但是，记忆力挥之不去。真正的真象，才是记忆！真正的‘真相’，is the real me inside the suit! It is the same as an ordinary human, don’t look at appearance or underestimate him or her. The real inner self takes time for ‘outsiders’ to understand.
Metropolitant: After this event, what do you hope to achieve?
Yuzuru: To have Zentai Art Festival continue next year April for two more exhibitions and have more performances and public events. More corporate sponsors and have Zentai walk in Orchard involving 120 people in April 2015. And I hope to make Zentai as ‘Art’ practice in Singapore. I would love to promote Zentai as healthy and fun activity and there is nothing to be shy or ashamed about wearing it. I want to be a public figure for Zentai that is open and creative. We will be organizing public walk, dance and children’s workshop. I want to meet more people to discuss about what is Zentai.
Khim: Perhaps collaborate more with Zentai form of art and learn more from each experience.
Zebra: I hoped the public would have more understanding of Zentai and the Zentai culture.
Jo: Zentai在不少的艺术场合是可以被接受的。Hope a little humble participation，可以唤醒对Zentai陌生的人，对Zentai Arts有一点认识或者了解
Metropolitant: Have you faced any difficulties when you share your interest about Zentai with the people around you?
Yuzuru: They say I don’t need Zentai to reach meditation state or non- identity condition, but Zentai makes people think about non- identity, unity and self transformation.
Khim: They are all supportive so I am quite lucky!
Zebra: I have not shared my interest with any other people. I’m not comfortable with them knowing my obsession and fetish.
Jo: I believe if you have to share an interest with somebody who is interested, then it will be easy to share. 本地的Zentai稍微有点普及化，处在这个阶段对Zentai Arts应该不太了解。Just like I hate soccer. If you tell me which team won the match, it does not concern me and soccer is never my interest at all. If I were to tell you how Silkair MI185 crashed or how Dr. Shane Todd died, you might be interested to know the truth, because it is a huge mystery until today. Same goes to Zentai!
Metropolitant: If you have one thing to say that represent Zentai, what is it?
Zebra: Zentai culture It is somewhat like cosplay. We just enjoy wearing these costumes, as well as the attention and adrenaline rush they bring.
Jo: “哑巴吃黄连，有苦难言”- Zentai art presenters are all dumb! They can’t talk at all. They have to present themselves in physical action. This tells me, people have a hard time understand each other (even without the Zentai suit). 若要人家认同一个人的表达，最好是行动表示。Zentai也不例外。
Metropolitant: Feel free to share anything that you think would let others out there understand Zentai a little more.
Yuzuru: Having less identities promotes world peace.
Khim: Free yourself and suit-up for the experience is priceless! I promise!
Zebra: I felt that Singapore is still a very conservative society. People here are generally still not acceptable in the Zentai sub-culture, unlike in the west.I would appeal to Singaporeans to be open to these subcultures that are emerging in Singapore. Be open to new things. I am not asking for everyone to accept this subculture. At least try to understand it, and be aware that there is such a subculture. However, if you who don’t like it, you are still entitled to their own opinions.
Jo: 如果，本地有个私人Zentai bar那就不错! Everybody will be in Zentai, a social interaction ground for the inquisitive people.
If this interview ignites the passion in you,
Check out the Zentai art school dance “It’s not red”
14th November 2014 (Fri) 20:00-20:30
The Substation Gallery
Zentai Butoh dance performance with Syv Bruzeau and her Zentai Butoh Dancers
This project is to develop the school of ‘Zentai Art Performance’ which creates its unique movement, expression and ideas. It aims to discover the unique movement techniques in Zentai.
I AM A SUPER HERO!
Children’s Creative Costume Making Workshop at The Substation, Singapore
By Marla Bendini
For Zentai Art Project 2014
15 November 2014 (Saturday), 2.30pm – 4.00pm