Vanishing Lands: An Immersive Feel of Rising Sea Levels


Screen shot from “Vanishing Lands” 

About Žibuoklė Martinaitytė

Described by WQXR as a “textural magician”, Žibuoklė Martinaitytė is a New York-based Lithuanian composer whose works explore the tensions and longings of identity and place.

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Martinaitytė’s “A Thousand Doors To The World” was commissioned by the Lithuanian Radio to celebrate Vilnius being named the Culture Capital of Europe in 2009. The premiere was broadcast by Euroradio to an audience of 4 million.

Her US commissions include the MATA Festival, Look+Listen and Other Minds festivals as well as the Barlow Endowment. Her recent projects include an hour-long multimedia piece “In Search of Lost Beauty,” scored for piano trio, electronics, and video projections; and a solo CD “Horizons” of orchestral and large ensemble works, released in 2017 by LMIC.


My time at BMC in the autumn of 2015 was quite significant. There I met artists and social activists who were directly engaged with the world and its global issues. I was deeply inspired by writer and activist Andrew Boyd. Hearing his thoughts on global warming at the dinner table planted a tiny seed for a new direction in my work. After returning home, I found an article in the New York Times about the Marshall Islands disappearing as a result of rising sea levels. I connected the Islands to Manhattan in my mind and thus the idea of the immersive audiovisual installation “Vanishing Lands (M-Islands)” was born, which I created with True Rosaschi. It was realized at the Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center in New York City.

Here is a link to the  audio of the work, which is heard through 10 speakers mounted at the installation matched with two video presentations.  And here is a link showing the video of the installation.

At BMC I also met visual artists Kate Connell and Oscar Melara from San Francisco and now we are collaborating on the project “Voices of Shells”. It is a ritualized music performance where multiple vocalists sing music inscribed in shells thus conveying encrypted messages: Oceans rise and global warming takes its toll.