On Henry Street, Tianyi Sun Works with Simulacra and Cuteness

Tianyi Sun and Fiel Guhit. “Bakery Story,” installed as part of FROM_LISTENERS, 2023. 30 x 18 x 32 inches, Laser cut and engraved acrylic, aluminium, LCD screen, webcam.

“I love it. I am all for kitschy stuff,” Tianyi Sun says, laughing, as she notices the iridescent glitter liquid phone case. In her practice, Sun engages with the cute and zany using these categories as an entry point to embody how we approach technology in our everyday lives—her work takes the form of installations and responsive environments activated by a reading or performance. With much of her work being modular, the audience moving through the space is as important as the work itself—“bridging the digital and the analog,” she explains. “I want to expose the aesthetics, the beauty, the politics without lessening the visceral response.” A central question of her work is: What happens with the human experience as we navigate technology?

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