Alejandro González Iñárritu / , 2017
Based on true accounts by Central American and Mexican migrants, CARNE y ARENA, is a six-and-a-half-minute solo experience that allows individuals to walk in a vast space and thoroughly live a fragment of the refugees’ personal journeys. It employs the highest virtual technology to create a large, multi-narrative light space with human characters.
Alejandro González Iñárritu based his virtual reality drama on interviews with Mexican and Central American migrants.
“During the past four years in which this project has been growing in my mind, I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing many Mexican and Central American refugees. Their life stories haunted me, so I invited some of them to collaborate with me in the project,” Iñárritu says. “My intention was to experiment with VR technology to explore the human condition in an attempt to break the dictatorship of the frame, within which things are just observed, and claim the space to allow the visitor to go through a direct experience walking in the immigrants’ feet, under their skin, and into their hearts.”
According to Iñárritu, VR requires a completely new language. It is no coincidence that the innovative CARNE y ARENA won the Special Academy Award for Storytelling. The Academy Board of Govenors hailed the project as a deeply emotional and physically immersive experience. ‘It is a creative breakthrough in the still-emerging form of virtual reality.’
CARNE y ARENA premiered as the first-ever VR installation in the official selection at Cannes in May 2017 and subsequently ran in Milan (Fondazione Prada), Mexico City (Tlatelolco University Cultural Center), and Los Angeles (LACMA). CARNE y ARENA was given a Special Achievement Academy Award in October 2017 for its visionary and powerful experience in storytelling.
Emmanuel Lubezki, the three-time Oscar-winning cinematographer and regular collaborator with Iñárritu, played a crucial role in the creation of this Virtual Reality installation along with ILMxLAB and Producer Mary Parent.
CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically Invisible) was produced and financed by Legendary Entertainment, Fondazione Prada and Emmerson Collective.
Alejandro González Iñárritu