Sun & Sea
Imagine a beach – you within it, or better: watching from above – the burning sun, sunscreen, bright bathing suits, sweaty palms and legs. Tired limbs sprawled lazily across a mosaic of towels. Imagine the occasional squeal of children, laughter, the sound of an ice cream van in the distance. The musical rhythm of waves on the surf, a soothing sound (on this particular beach, not elsewhere). The crinkling of plastic bags whirling in the air. Their silent floating, jellyfish-like, below the waterline. The rumble of a volcano, or of an airplane, or a speedboat. Then a chorus of songs: everyday songs, songs of worry and of boredom, songs of almost nothing.
An ecological work at its very core, Sun & Sea takes place on an artificial beach composed through light, architecture and music. In the heat of the midday sun, vacationers sings their stories, unfold their thoughts. As these multiply, everyday micro-events slowly give rise to broader, more distributed anxieties on planetary-scale, anthropogenic climate change. The setting – a crowded beach in summer – paints an image of laziness and lightness. In this context, the message follows suit: contemporary crises unfold easily, softly – like a pop song on the very last day on Earth.
Sun & Sea is a critically acclaimed Lithuanian opera-performance created by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė. The Curator of the project is Lucia Pietroiusti, Curator of General Ecology, Serpentine Gallery, London. Sun & Sea was awarded with the Golden Lion for best contribution at the Venice Biennale 2019. The premiere at Malmö Konsthall is set for the 2nd of November 2021 and the work will be shown at Malmö Konsthall from the 2nd to the 14th of November (postponed from Spring 2020 due to the spread of the coronavirus). Sun & Sea is a live installation without beginning or end. Each performance runs for four hours where the audience can come and leave as they please.
Malmö Konsthall will be the first art institution to show the work in Sweden, after its international success. The performance at Malmö Konsthall is part of a Nordic tour. At each location, local performers together with amateur singers will be recruited to join the original ensemble, which means that the performance is shaped by the place where it is displayed.
Of Sun & Sea, the artists have written:
Sun and Sea started from the quirky image: vacationers are lying on sandy beach and singing, their half-naked bodies observed from above, from the sun’s perspective, as if humankind were insects. It took 4 years or so after that, until the exposed fragility of human bodies allowed us to find a parallel with the temporality of the colossal body – the body of the Earth. Even though we realized the piece would somehow tackle the topic of climate change, we were hesitant how such a big and pressing subject could be approached in a subtle and non alarmingly didactic way. The libretto of the piece is set as a mosaic of stories, inner monologues, dreams and thoughts, sung in solos and as a chorus by the beachgoers. This ‘soup’ of stories might sound like a mundane and carefree buzz, however, in this both liturgical, poppy and synthetic ocean of songs one can feel an impending threat. The picture of enjoyable holidays belies the consequences of this inertia – planetary resources being extracted as if sipping fizzy Piña Colada.
Project partner: The Libraries of Malmö (Biblioteken i Malmö). With support from: The Sweden-Lithuania Cooperation Fund, Swedish Arts Council, Nordic Culture Fund, The Society for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Green Parks in Malmö (Plantan), the Culture Department of Malmö and the Environment Department of Malmö. We also want to thank the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania.
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Sun & Sea
An opera-performance by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė
Concept and development: Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė
Director and Set Designer: Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė
Librettist: Vaiva Grainytė
Composer and Music Director: Lina Lapelytė
Curator: Lucia Pietroiusti
Tour Coordinator / Stage Manager: Erika Urbelevič
Producer: Aušra Simanavičiūtė
Performed by: Svetlana Bagdonaitė, Eglė Paškevičienė, Marco Cisco, Lucas Lopes Pereira, Artūras Miknaitis, Kalliopi Petrou, Nabila Dandara Vieira Santos, Ieva Skorubskaitė, Yates Norton, Elisabetta Trevenzuoli, Annapaola Trevenzuoli, Jonas Statkevičius, Vincentas Korba, Jeronimas Petraitis, Juozas Petraitis, Pranas Petraitis.
Sound Engineer: Tautvydas Navikas
Producer: TBC [not yet appointed]
Founding Producers: Neon Realism
Co-Producers: Akademie Schloss Solitude; Goethe-Institut; JCDecaux; Münchner Kammerspiele; National Gallery of Art, Vilnius; Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts; Staatsschauspiel Dresden; The Momentary, Arkansas.
Commissioner (Sun & Sea (Marina), Venice, 2019): Rasa Antanaviciute
Founding Patrons (Sun & Sea (Marina), Venice, 2019): Lithuanian Council for Culture; Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania; Laurenz Foundation, Basel; Vilnius City Municipality.
Image: Sun&Sea (Marina), opera-performance by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė at Biennale Arte 2019 Venice. © Andrej Vasilenko