CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible)

For the first time in Spain, arrives at Santiago de Compostela CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically), a groundbreaking and immersive virtual reality experience by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, exploring the human condition of immigrants and refugees.

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CARNE y ARENA  premiered at the 70th Cannes Film Festival as the first virtual reality project to be featured in the festival's history. It was presented for the first time in its extensive full version at Fondazione Prada in Milan. That same year, Iñárritu received a special Academy Award ® for CARNE y ARENA, and the film was recognized by the Academy as "an exceptional narrative experience".

Based on true accounts, the superficial lines between subject and bystander are blurred and bound together, allowing individuals to walk in a vast space and thoroughly live a fragment of the refugees's personal journeys. CARNE y ARENA is solo journey centered around a virtual reality sequence experienced by three concurrent visitors in separate rooms that employs state-of-the-art immersive technology to create a multi-narrative light space with human characters. 

"During the making of this project, I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing many Mexican and Central American refugees," Iñárritu said. "Their life stories haunted me, so I invited some of them to collaborate with me on the project. 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."

CARNE y ARENA, 2017 / Alejandro González Iñárritu, directing during a motion capture shoot / Credit: © Legendary / Photo: Chachi Ramírez

CARNE y ARENA, 2017 / Selena, a mother from Guatemala, has her image digitally recreated / Credit: © Legendary / Photo: Chachi Ramírez


CARNE y ARENA on the press

  • “A groundbreaking hybrid of art exhibition, virtual reality simulation and historical re-enactment“ | The New York Times
  • "Advances in technology — along with the sand beneath your feet — make the experience truly transporting” | The New York Times
  • “I emerged from CARNE y ARENA shaken, unsettled and deeply moved” | Washington Post
  • “One of virtual reality's first masterworks“ | Forbes
  • “Heartbreaking (…) Iñárritu’s vision worked so well that I was crying and emotionally exhausted as I exited the installation“ | Vanity Fair
  • “Genius (…) Brilliant (…) “It’s easily one of the most intense artistic experiences I’ve ever had” | The Denver Post
  • “A must-see” | La Presse
  • “CARNE y ARENA is an astonishing experience that’s hard to shake—and will literally leave you shaken” | Observer
 CARNE y ARENA, 2017 / A user in the experience / Photo credit: Enmanuel Lubezki


About Alejandro González Iñárritu

Alejandro G. Iñárritu is a Mexican film director, writer, and producer. His feature films often break with traditional narrative structures and explore the complex depths of the human condition. He has won five Academy Awards®. His filmography includes 21 Grams, Babel, Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), and The Revenant, among others. 

About PHI Studio

Montreal-based PHI Studio specializes in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR) installations. PHI Studio is a pioneer in interactive experiences and has garnered an international reputation for collaborating with artists, creators, directors, and producers from different backgrounds.

About Emerson Collective

Emerson Collective deploys a wide range of tools — from impact investing to philanthropy to advocacy — in pursuit of a more equal and just America. They focus on creating systemic change in education, immigration, climate, and cancer research and treatment.

About Legendary Entertainment

Legendary Entertainment is a leading media company with film (Legendary Pictures), television and digital (Legendary Television and Digital Media) and comics (Legendary Comics) divisions dedicated to owning, producing and delivering content to worldwide audiences.

About 90_20

90_20 is a platform for cultural production that connects both sides of the Atlantic through collaboration with international artists to create sensitive experiences that impact the environment, the community and the viewer, and enrich the taste for artistic creation, highlighting the ability of art to serve as a tool for transformation, integration and innovation.

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