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Alejandro G. Inarritu Turns to Virtual Reality With ‘Carne y Arena’

Location-based VR is beginning to blossom in museums as well as in dedicated theaters. Alejandro G. Inarritu, award-winning director of “Birdman,” created the “Carne y Arena” (Meat and Sand) VR exhibit, which debuted at Cannes as one of the film festival’s official selections. The exhibit was also installed at Milan’s Fondazione Prada and has been on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art since July 2, functioning as a piece of politicized art to place viewers in the world of an immigrant crossing the Mexico-U.S. border.

Alejandro G. Inarritu wrote and directed the VR experience “Carne y Arena.”
Emmanuel Lubezki

Participants begin their journey in a room similar to the cells in which the U.S. Border Patrol holds detainees, and after moving barefoot into another room — this one covered in sand and pebbles, with a metal barricade on one side — they put on VR goggles to watch and interact with those making a dangerous journey through the desert. By using VR as a method of reframing the immigrant experience, Inarritu has tapped into the format’s potential as a tool for cultivating change via an immersive experience.

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