The following three photos are part of The Nation Estate project by Larissa Sansour. The Project "is a sci-fi photo series conceived in the wake of the Palestinian bid for nationhood at the UN. Three preliminary sketches have been developed especially for the Lacoste Elysée Prize 2011" (Sansour). Her instalation, proposed to the Musee de l`Elysee in Switzerland was censored by Lacoste, the funder of the exhibit for being "too pro Palestinian."
"Set within a grim piece of hi-tech architecture, this narrative photo series envisions `la joie de vivre` of a Palestinian state rising from the ashes of the peace process.
In this dystopic vision, Palestinians have their state in the form of a single skyscraper: the Nation Estate. Surrounded by a concrete wall, this colossal hi-rise houses the entire Palestinian population - finally living the high life. Each city has its own floor: Jerusalem, third floor; Ramallah, fourth floor. Intercity trips previously marred by checkpoints are now made by elevator.
Aiming for a sense of belonging, the lobby of each floor reenacts iconic squares and landmarks - elevator doors on the Jerusalem floor opening onto a full-scale Dome of the Rock. Built ouside the actual city of Jerusalem, the building also has views of the original golden dome from the top floors.
The Nation Estate project consists of 8-10 large-format photos. It is scheduled for production in early 2012" (Sensour).
Khalil Bendib interviews Larissa Sansour.
[Developed in partnership with VOMENA]
UPDATE 21 December- Press release from the Musée de l’Elysée:
Suspension of the Lacoste Elysée Prize 2011
Lausanne, 21 December 2011 - The Musée de l’Elysée has decided to suspend the organisation of the Lacoste Elysée Prize 2011. Introduced in 2010 to sustain young photographers, the prize is worth 25 000 euros. In the context of the 2011 edition of the prize, eight nominees were selected to take part in the contest. They were asked to produce three photographs on the theme la joie de vivre. With the help of a individual grant of 4 000 euros, each nominee had carte blanche to interpret the theme in which ever way they favoured, in a direct or indirect manner, with authenticity or irony, based upon their existing or as an entirely new creation. An expert jury should have met at the end of January 2012 to select the winner of the Lacoste Elysée Prize 2011. The Musée de l’Elysée has based its decision on the private partner’s wish to exclude Larissa Sansour, one of the prize nominees. We reaffirm our support to Larissa Sansour for the artistic quality of her work and her dedication. The Musée de l’Elysée has already proposed to her to present at the museum the series of photographs “Nation Estate”, which she submitted in the framework of the contest. For 25 years, the Musée de l’Elysée has defended with strength artists, their work, freedom of the arts and of speech. With the decision it has taken today, the Musée de l’Elysée repeats its commitment to its fundamental values.