2013 Laissez-Passer
A sound installation placed in the public space in Marseilles and continuing the project The Camp of the Jews. Drawing on the symbolic architecture of the transit camp Le Grand Arénas, it reflects on stories of migration in the present-day context.
- 2013 France, Marseilles: Maison Blanche
- 2013 France, Marseilles: MAC

- Harald Sylvander [architecture and plans]
- Jean-Claude Chianale [documentation and information]
- Jean-Louis Connan [school director]
- Thierry Ollat [director of MAC]
- Arts Mediation Organisation [financial support]
- Ateliers de l'Euro-Mediterranee [financial support]
- Ecole Superieure d'Art et de Design de Marseille [technical support]
- Fonds Social Juif Unifie [financial support]
- GW Inox [technical support]
- Israeli Consulate in Marseilles [financial support]
- Israeli Lottery [financial support]
- MAC [technical support]
- Maison Blanche [technical support]
- Marseille Provence 2013 [financial support]
- Marseilles Municipality [financial support]

2013 Laissez-Passer
The title of the installation, Laissez-Passer, refers to the document my family was given upon our departure from Alexandria. It meant that we were not allowed to return to Egypt and had to settle in a new country. Laissez-Passer, which was created for Art Ephémères in the context of Marseilles European Cultural Capital (2013), continues my earlier project The Camp of the Jews. This camp, a transit camp called Le Grand Arénas, was built near Marseilles after World War Two as the municipal authorities faced the urgent need of lodging political prisoners, migrants workers from the colonies (Algeria and Indochina), refugees, and demobilized soldiers. The architect in charge, Fernand Pouillon, used a method that was developed during the Occupation by the architect Jacques Couëlle, the “fusées-céramiques” or “ceramic-rockets” (semi-barrel barrack formed by truncated bottles inserted one into another). Le Grand Arénas served in the 1950s as transit camp where Jews from Arab countries stayed on their way to Israel. Until its destruction in the 1960s, it was used for Maghreb migrants, Gypsies, and social outcasts. Almost nothing was left of the camp.

Laissez-Passer reproduced the central marker of the architecture of the camp, the semi-barrel barrack. The structure of the installation was built with ceramic-rockets. But this time they were not made out of terra cotta, Hebron glass, or Formica (as in different phases and presentations of The Camp of the Jews) but inox. I chose stainless steel because I looked for a material detached from any symbolic or reference to specific periods and locations. I wanted to create a neutral space keeping at bay feelings of nostalgia. The aestheticizing effect of inox, turning the structure into a “beautiful” object, was an invitation for visitors to enter the space and reflect on the issue of representation of migrants in the public sphere. Furthermore, the neutral aspect of the installation enabled visitors to focus on the testimonies of migrants that were broadcast inside the structure and to listen without any interference to the stories that were told. The length and width of the structure were 400 cm, and its height 210 cm. It was placed on a 640 cm long and 420 cm wide raft-like stage, which served as source of sound diffusion. Laissez-Passer was presented simultaneously in two exhibitions, Art Ephémères at the park of Maison Blanche, and Le Pont at the MAC Marseilles.

...lors de l'inauguration du Festival des arts éphémères dans le cadre de Marseille-Provence 2013 Capitale européenne de la culture. Interview réalisée par Pascale Gauthier-Keogh, Consulat général d'Israël à Marseille
Book published by the artist-in-residence program Ateliers de l'Euro-Mediterranee (AEM), which supported the development and realization of the project.