A new art installation in North Texas uses virtual reality technology to provide a glimpse into the harrowing experience of migrants at the border. Using testimonials from actual Mexican and Central Americans who made the dangerous journey, this art experience at Fark Park in Dallas is powerful, emotional, and deeply moving.
From the Academy Award winning Mexican Director Alejandro Iñárritu, Carny y Arena (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible) recently opened at Fair Park through the collaboration of the Nasher Sculpture Center and the George W. Bush Presidential Center. The exhibit first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017, becoming the first virtual reality experience selected for the prestigious festival.
“During the several years in which this project had been growing in my mind, I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing many Mexican and Central American refugees” said Iñárritu in a press statement. “Their life stories haunted me, so I invited some of them to collaborate with me in the project.”
Carny y Arena was presented in several cities around the world before it was customized for touring. Located at Fair Park, Carny y Arena will remain on view until April 18. Viewers of the exhibit start in front of an actual piece of the border wall before they are directed into rooms where they are asked to follow certain protocols before the virtual reality technology is implemented.
The actual virtual reality simulation is only a few minutes, but it is profoundly frightening and disorienting. The fact that Iñárritu incorporated the real-life experiences of migrants at the border is also heartbreaking.
After the simulation, viewers can go to an adjacent room where there are testimonials from those very refugees. Tickets to Carne y Arena can be found here.
A longtime writer and journalist, Jessica was thrilled to join the Texas Signal where she could utilize her unique perspective on politics and culture. As the Features and Opinion Editor, she is responsible for coordinating editorials and segments from diverse authors. She is also the host of the podcast the Tex Mix, as well as the co-host for the weekly SignalCast. Jessica attended Harvard College, is a onetime fitness blogger, and has now transitioned to recreational runner (for which her joints are thankful).