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Alejandro G. Inarritu’s Oscar Proves That VR Technology is Evolving

Inarrito recieved a special Academy Award for the virtual reality installment of "Carne y Arena."

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At the ninth annual Governors Awards, director Alejandro G. Iñárritu accepted his fifth Academy Award, this time for his virtual reality installment Carne y Arena. The installment has been hailed by Academy president John bailey as “a deeply emotional and physically immersive venture,” according to Variety

The installment is a six-and-a-half minute experience currently on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It places participants in the middle of an attempted migrant crossing along the U.S.-Mexico border, explains Variety. The participant dons a backpack and VR goggles, and walks along the sand. Border patrol officers arrive by air and land, and guns are drawn. Migrants are apprehended, Variety writes. And though the scene is the same for each person, everyone has their own experience.

“I think it’s the identity — who you are as a person,” Iñárritu said, according to Variety. “There are people who stay behind the policemen the whole time. There are people who go down into the sand and shout and try to hold the kids. It’s also dependent on the emotional state you went into it with that day. That’s very interesting. There’s no right or wrong way to do it.”

The 54-year-old Mexican filmmaker previously won three Oscars for Birdman in 2016 and another for The Revenant the next year. This most recent special Oscar for Carne y Arena shines a light on evolving technology.

“VR has the potential to change the landscape of museums and galleries because you can go into the mind of an artist,” Iñárritu said, according to Variety. “Imagine if a sculptor like [James] Turrell did VR. I think great artists will be able to create amazing pieces where you will really walk into their brain, and that will be life-changing.”

However, Iñárritu said that he thinks it will require a new filmmaking generation to bring its own approach and that filmmakers should not be “contaminating this with old narrative arts of theater or cinema.”

Read full story at Variety