Sanya Vibe is the third interactive mirror in a series of island6 works, along with China Vibe and Shanghai Vibe, that plays with notions of intimacy in the digital age. In the shrouding blackness of an antique mirror from colonial era Shanghai, model Zhang Tian Yi (张天伦) sleeps with her iPhone at her side, dreaming in dimensional ambiguity. She is a 21st century reflection in a 1930s artifact; a Shanghainese model in the summery clothes of south China’s most tropical beach town, Sanya (三亚).
Above her dozing head, traced in lipstick upon the glass, a phone number hangs and waits to be dialed. A million Chinese romances are born in China every day, based on introductions between friends, arrangements between parents, printed ads, and online chats. The sight in Sanya Vibe is an amalgamation of all these matchmaking mediums in an adolescent vision.
When viewers call the number–as closely associated as a name–they carry out the act of calling, reaching out, and initiating what can be in many ways described as intercourse. The phone explodes in vibrations. Zhang Tian Yi awakes and looks to her portal to the outside world: she reads who is calling and decides to let them in–but only as much as she desires. The phone vibrates violently in her hand and Zhang Tian Yi presses the sensations caused by the viewer up and down her entire body. The look on her face says it all: This is contact. This is intercourse. This could even be love.
When it’s all over, Zhang Tian Yi is stunned by the abrupt halt of her phone. But, ultimately pleased, she sends a text to her callers to remind them they aren’t forgotten: perhaps “i love a rock hard phone in my hands”, or “phone me daddy”, or “you always know exactly what to say”, she is always grateful to the digitized level of love she receives. [Pete Bradt]