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13 October 2022
Everything begins and ends on a beach About Sun & Sea at the Teatre Lliure of Barcelona

Montse Badia

It all begins on a beach, seen from above and in a mosaic of stories. It’s a day at the beach, on vacation, sun and tranquility. Couples, families, children, groups of friends, dogs… bathe, read, look at their cell phones, talk to each other, play chess, play ball, make castles in the sand, sunbathe and sing.

First presented at the National Art Gallery of Lithuania in 2017, Sun & Sea gained a great projection when it represented Lithuania at the Venice Biennale (2019), where it also won the Golden Lion. Since then, it has not stopped traveling around the world and adapting to different spaces and situations: museums, theaters or industrial buildings. The dimensions and some performers change (there is a group of 15 regular singers and other volunteers or locals who join in and make it site-specific) but the message and the experience remain the same. Sun & Sea is an opera with a libretto whose theme is climate change and is also a great performance in which there is room for improvisation.

Vaiva Grainyté (libretto), Rugilé Barzdziukaité (direction) and Lina Lapelyté (musical direction) are the creators of this project, which starts from a concept (climate change) and an image (a beach seen from above), to move between messages, genres and disciplines. Sun & Sea does not give lessons nor is it an activist work. It denounces from the personal stories that the different performers sing (the well-off couple that travels around the world; the workaholic; the couple in the distance…) in which we can all see ourselves reflected and also evidences our contradictions. Because suddenly, the vacation beach becomes a beach of no return, a warning sign of the depletion of resources, rising temperatures and the end of the coral reefs; a reminder, in short, of our fragility and dependence.

(Featured Image: Photograph of the performance ©Andrej Vasilenko / The Artists)

Montse Badia has never liked standing still, so she has always thought about travelling, entering into relation with other contexts, distancing herself, to be able to think more clearly about the world. The critique of art and curating have been a way of putting into practice her conviction about the need for critical thought, for idiosyncrasies and individual stances. How, if not, can we question the standardisation to which we are being subjected?

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"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)