Larissa Sansour - Science Faction at Lawrie Shabibi
When I first read about her Nation Estate project where Sansour proposed a Palestinian state "in the form of a skyscraper, with each floor accommodating a Palestinian city", I fell in love with the idea and I only got to see some of the photos. Looking forward to seeing the whole series.
I'm not a fan of overtly photoshopped photographs, but I do love the idea behind each photo.
Originally developed for the Lacoste Elysée Prize 2011, Nation Estate became the subject of a censorship controversy when the project was deemed too “pro-Palestinian” and Sansour’s nomination for the prize was revoked – generating media storm culminating in the cancellation of the prize. Despite the setback, Sansour was soon able to galvanise support and eventually complete the project.
Lawrie Shabibi is proud to be showing the full series, which features a high-production 9-minute sci-fi short film and set of seven photographic works. Alongside Nation Estate, Science Faction will also feature works from A Space Exodus, an earlier series by Sansour leading the way for the Nation Estate project.
In both Nation Estate and A Space Exodus Sansour appropriates pop cultural forms – science fiction and futurism – to approximate the reality and complexity of life in Palestine and explore a playfully dystopian solution for a Palestinian state.
In Nation Estate, Sansour proposes a Palestinian state in the form of a skyscraper, with each floor accommodating a Palestinian city. The female lead, played by Sansour herself, travels upwards in an elevator from one city to the other passing by iconic symbols and landmarks that recreate a sense of history and belonging.
In A Space Exodus (an adaptation of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1986)) Sansour offers a naively hopeful and optimistic vision for a Palestinian future in outer space. Projecting herself onto the moon as a Palestinian astronaut, we see Sansour heroically planting the Palestinian flag on the lunar surface.
Depicting fantastical scenarios inspired by facts on the ground, Sansour hints at the current political stalemate and sense of futility that surrounds the Palestinian predicament. Borrowing heavily from the language of film and pop culture, Sansour’s use of new media masks her cynicism in a humorous manner, offering different interpretations of the current socio-political situation. The result is an unconventional Palestinian narrative that succeeds in being both humorous and tragic.