The Nation Estate (exhibition)
Artist: Larissa Sansour
Date of Action: December 20, 2011
Location: Swiss Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Medium: Film Video
Confronting Bodies: Lacoste
Description of Artwork: Sansour's film and photography exhibit is intended to expand on her 2009 short film, A Space Exodus, which draws on Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey to comment on the current plight of the Palestinian people. The exhibition would "extend this playfully Utopian proposition, and found Sansour proposing an epic skyscraper with the potential to house the Palestinian territories in their entirety." Every Palestinian city of note would occupy its own level in this building; for example, Jerusalem situated on the third floor and Bethlehem on the fifth. An elevator would be taken to each level, which would provide a minimalist representation of an aspect of Palestinian life.
The Incident: Sansour's project was shortlisted for a prize sponsored by Lacoste. She stated that the museum staff at the Swiss Musée de l’Elysée ensured that she would have complete "free reign" in the proposal of her artistic work. But, when Sansour submitted her proposal, Lacoste revoked her nomination and the museum suggested she "sign an agreement, which asserted that she had chosen to withdraw herself from the competition."
Results of Incident: The artist received a considerable amount of support from various groups and individuals worldwide. Subsequently, Swiss Musée de l’Elysée canceled its Lacoste-sponsored prize and also severed its relationship with Lacoste. Because of the attention the scandal has received, Sansour has been able to continue with her project in a far broader scope than she said she ever could have imagined.