Nation State - Living the High Life

Translation/Interpretation/Caption Text: 

Nation Estate (2012)
Photo and video

The Nation Estate project consists of a 9-minute sci-fi short film and a photo series offering a clinically dystopian, yet humorous approach to the deadlock in the Middle East.

With its glossy mixture of computer generated imagery, live actors and an arabesque electronica soundtrack, the Nation Estate film explores a veritcal solution to Palestinian statehood. 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, Sansour's native Bethlehem on the 21st and so on. 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.

The story follows the female lead, played by Sansour herself, in a futuristic folklore suit returning home from a trip abroad, making her way through the metro system and the lobby of the monstrous building. Having passed the security checks, she takes the elevator to the Bethlehem floor and crosses Manger Square and Church of the Nativity on her way to her apartment where she eventually prepares a plate of sci-fi tabouleh.

The Nation Estate photo series consists of seven large-scale photos and a poster.

In late 2011, three early photo sketches originally developed for the Lacoste Elysée Prize ended up at the center of a censorship controversy when the prize sponsor, French fashion giant Lacoste, decided to ban the photos from the competition, labelling them 'too pro-Palestinian' for the brand to support.