Search archive


Nation Estate

Elevator Advertisements

004 / 2 November 2012

Nation Estate is a nine-minute sci-fi short offering a dystopian yet humorous approach to the deadlock in the Middle East.


With a mixture of computer generated imagery (CGI), live actors and arabesque electronica, Nation Estate explores a vertical solution to Palestinian statehood. In Sansour's film, Palestinians have their state in the form of a single skyscraper: the Nation Estate. One colossal high-rise houses the entire Palestinian population, now finally living the high life.


Each city has its own floor: Jerusalem on the 13th floor, Ramallah on the 14th floor, Sansour's native Bethlehem on the 21st, and so on. Intercity trips previously marred by checkpoints are now made by elevator.


As the main mode of transportation, the Nation Estate elevators become platforms for communication, and the elevator ads take on a life of their own. No matter if they convey official, social, political or commercial messages, the ads hone in on the core issues of life under occupation and address future problems reminiscent of those standing in the way of any progress today – suggesting that no negotiated solution will work without resolving these central issues.


Larissa Sansour, Commercial Water, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.



Larissa Sansour, Commercial Passport, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.


Larissa Sansour, Version 3, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.
Larissa Sansour, Version 3, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

About the author

Larissa Sansour

Larissa Sansour was born in East Jerusalem and studied fine arts in London, New York and Copenhagen. Her work is interdisciplinary, immersed in the current political dialogue and utilises video, photography, installation, the book form and the Internet. The dichotomy of belonging to and being removed from the very same piece of land is central to Sansour's work. She often resorts to fictionalised space to address current political realities. By approximating the nature, reality and complexity of life in Palestine and the Middle East to visual forms normally associated with entertainment, her grandiose and often humorous schemes clash with the gravity expected from works commenting on the region. References and details ranging from sci-fi and superheroes to spaghetti westerns and horror films converge with Middle Eastern politics and social issues to create intricate parallel universes in which a new value system can be decoded. Recent solo exhibitions include Galerie Anne de Villepoix in Paris, Photographic Center in Copenhagen, Kulturhuset in Stockholm, Depo in Istanbul and Jack the Pelican in New York. Her work has featured in the biennials of Istanbul, Busan and Liverpool. She has exhibited at venues such as Tate Modern, London; Brooklyn Museum, NYC; Centre Pompidou, Paris; LOOP, Seoul; Al Hoash, Jerusalem; Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid; Louisiana Museum of Contemporary Art, Denmark; House of World Cultures, Berlin, and MOCA, Hiroshima.