Fetish, power and the lack thereof with filmmaker Bart Seng Wen Long
The photographer, filmmaker and curator talks us through their transdisciplinary creative vision, one rubber outfit at a time
Dynamics of power often prove to be a fruitful source of inspiration for a lot of contemporary art. Singaporean photographer and filmmaker Bart Seng Wen Long shows that there is still much terrain to cover in the unearthing of power, or lack thereof. “I have a soft spot for things and people that lack power or capital,” Bart tells It’s Nice That. Based in London, Bart’s oeuvre is a refreshing break in a contemporary art world which sometimes hinges on homogeneity. Fetish objects, gimps, anime subculture, and queerness all combine across “the throes of emotional intensity”, making for a body of work that is at once sexy, kawaii and uncanny.
“My works always have an element of performance in them, it's very bodily and often expects a degree of physical endurance from my subjects,” Bart explains. “I’m very interested in the concept of fetishism, especially when it is directed inwards.” A latex Neon Evangelion catsuit, the chiaroscuro of digital screens and a sleeping gimp are just some of the things which constitute Bart’s Peter Hujar-inspired vision. But mainly, Bart’s work is an exploration of how “affect is trafficked through contemporary culture”, and is then reconstructed “as a kind of mythology that reveals the complexity of our times through visceral and weirder ways”, he says.
Bart Seng Wen Long: out in the world, still #2 (Copyright © Bart Seng Wen Long, 2021-2022)
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. They were part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.