PHI Studio, Emerson Collective, and Legendary Entertainment Announce Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Academy Award®-Winning Virtual Reality Installation CARNE y ARENA Comes to Dallas, in Association with the Nasher Sculpture Center and the George W. Bush Presidential Center

Immersive VR installation travels to Fair Park, recounts the harrowing plight of Central American and Mexican refugees

Dallas, TX (December 8, 2021) – The Nasher Sculpture Center announces a partnership with the George W. Bush Presidential Center, in association with PHI Studio, Emerson Collective, and Legendary Entertainment, and Fondazione Prada to bring five-time Academy Award®-winning writer and director Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s virtual reality exhibition CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible) to Dallas, Texas. The immersive experience that critics call “must see,” “life-changing,” and “powerful" will be on view at Fair Park for a limited time from January 21 through April 18, 2022.

The experimental visual installation CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible) is a solo virtual reality experience that reunites frequent collaborators Alejandro G. Iñárritu and three-time Academy Award®-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. It was originally produced by Legendary Entertainment, Fondazione Prada, and Emerson Collective and premiered at the 70th Festival de Cannes in 2017 as the first VR experience ever chosen as part of the festival’s Official Selection. In 2018, Iñárritu was presented a special Oscar® for CARNE y ARENA by the Academy “in recognition of a visionary and powerful experience in storytelling.”

CARNE y ARENA employs the highest virtual technology to create a large, multi-narrative light space with human characters. 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’ personal journeys.

“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. Their life stories haunted me, so I invited some of them to collaborate with me in the project,” said Iñárritu. “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.”

Following presentations worldwide—including Los Angeles, Mexico City, Milan, Washington, D.C., and Amsterdam—CARNE y ARENA was optimized for touring by the Montreal-based PHI Studio, which specializes in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR) The optimized installation allows for enhanced portability as well as increased capacity, upgraded technology, and social distancing. The optimized installation premiered in Denver and Montreal, with outstanding reviews and sold-out runs.

CARNE y ARENA’s Dallas presentation is possible through the support of Emerson Collective, a group that deploys a wide range of tools—from impact investing to philanthropy to advocacy—in pursuit of a more equal and just America, as well as PHI Studio, which focuses its activities on the presentation of immersive works locally and internationally with innovative production approach, technical expertise, and achievements in new forms of storytelling.

CARNE y ARENA’s local operational and programming support is provided by the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Bush Center, which have created this partnership dedicated to furthering constructive conversations about immigration.

“The profound power of CARNE y ARENA is putting yourself in another person’s shoes, building empathy, and discovering there is more to someone’s lived experience than what you read or see in the news,” said Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder and President of Emerson Collective. “We are honored to work with the Nasher Sculpture Center and the George W. Bush Presidential Center to offer Texans the opportunity to experience this exhibition, create dialogue, and broaden awareness about immigrants.”

“PHI's mission has always been to give voice to artists while also engaging the public on contemporary issues that impact our collective existence,” says Phoebe Greenberg, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of PHI. “The CARNE y ARENA experience highlights a human situation that concerns us all. By witnessing the incredible stories of these migrants and refugees, we have no choice but to become aware of a reality that may seem remote to us. Compelled by this striking work at its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and then in Washington, D.C., we did everything possible to adapt the installation so that it could travel around the world and now be experienced in Texas.”

“The Nasher Sculpture Center is honored to provide staffing and operational support to help bring this innovative experience to Dallas,” says Jeremy Strick, Director, Nasher Sculpture Center. “Bearing sympathetic witness to the plight of the migrant and refugee, we trust this immersive, physical experience will bring compassionate discourse to the immigration debate, not only in this country, but around the world, and we are delighted to be part of that progress.” 

 “The George W. Bush Institute believes the future prosperity, vitality, and security of our nation is intertwined with our immigration system. We are dedicated to changing the terms of the immigration debate and offering solutions that are bold and politically viable.” said Kenneth A. Hersh, President and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. “The Bush Center is proud to partner in bringing CARNE y ARENA to Dallas and using our combined voices to ensure that the United States reaps the benefits of our longstanding history as a nation of immigrants.”

Virtual and live programming will be held throughout the run of CARNE y ARENA, with additional community partners presenting collateral events.

CARNE y ARENA is presented in Dallas in association with the Nasher Sculpture Center and the George W. Bush Presidential Center


January 20

Members of the media may request advance reservations by emailing Lucia Simek: [email protected]


CARNE y ARENA will be accessible to the public through advance bookings and dynamic ticket pricing, though tickets are limited. Tickets can be purchased beginning at 10 am CDT on Wednesday, December 8 at


Food & Fiber Pavilion, Fair Park

Gate 3

3809 Grand Avenue

Dallas, TX 75210

CARNE y ARENA will be open to the public 6 days a week, Tuesday - Sunday, 11 am to 9 pm CDT.


CARNE y ARENA has implemented extensive COVID-19 safety measures to protect the health and wellbeing of visitors and staff. Our team follows a meticulous protocol of hygiene measures. The spaces are designed for one visitor at a time to circulate while limiting interactions and with respect to safe distance protocols. For a detailed list of safety measures, please click here




About the Nasher Sculpture Center

Located in the heart of the Dallas Arts District, the Nasher Sculpture Center is home to the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary sculpture in the world, featuring more than 300 masterpieces by Calder, de Kooning, Giacometti, Hepworth, Kelly, Miró, Moore, Picasso, Rodin, Serra, and Shapiro, among others, and contemporary works by the likes of Bosco Sodi, Melvin Edwards, Nicole Eisenman, and Simone Leigh. The Nasher Sculpture Center is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 5. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for students, and free for children 12 and under and members, and includes access to special exhibitions. For more information, please visit:

About the George W. Bush Presidential Center

Rooted in the guiding principles of President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush, the George W. Bush Presidential Center engages communities in the United States and around the world by developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. Through three Impact Centers – Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and an Engagement Agenda – the Bush Institute delivers measurable results that save and improve lives. The Bush Center is home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which is operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, and the George W. Bush Institute, the nonpartisan, public-policy arm of the Bush Center. The Bush Center is located on the campus of SMU in Dallas, Texas, and also includes a 15-acre park; Café 43, a full-service restaurant; and a Museum Store.




About Alejandro G. Iñárritu, director

Alejandro G. Iñárritu is a Mexican film director, writer, and producer. His feature films, which often break with traditional narrative structures and explore the complex depths of the human condition have garnered critical acclaim and numerous accolades, including five Academy Awards®. He made his feature directorial debut at the Cannes Semaine de la Critique in 2000 and was nominated for a Foreign Film Academy Award with Amores Perros. His following credits include 21 Grams; Babel, which won the Best Director Award at the 2006 Festival de Cannes and garnered seven Oscar nominations; and Biutiful, presented in competition in 2010 at Cannes. Iñárritu took home the prize for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay at the 87th Academy Awards for Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). The following year, Iñárritu won his second consecutive Academy Award for Best Director for The Revenant. He is the first Mexican filmmaker to be nominated for either director or producer and to receive a Best Screenplay and Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Most recently, Iñárritu created the VR installation Carne y Arena (Virtually present, Physically invisible), which was premiered at the 2017 Festival de Cannes as the first VR project ever included in the official selection. CARNE y ARENA garnered Iñárritu his fifth Academy Award, a special Oscar presented to him by the Board of Governors.

About PHI Studio

PHI Studio focuses its activities on the presentation of immersive works in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR). Recognized locally and internationally for its innovative production approach, technical expertise, and achievements in new forms of storytelling, PHI Studio collaborates with major global industry players and has worked on many award-winning projects, with international presentations in New York, Tokyo, Venice, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, and Salt Lake City, among others. As a pioneer in interactive experiences, PHI Studio pushes the boundaries of immersive projects, with a focus on enhancing the visitor experience through a keen sense of detail and the elaboration of high-quality scenography. With a reputation for close collaborations with artists, creators, directors, and producers from different backgrounds, PHI Studio aspires to be a catalyst of innovation, supporting the development of present and future talent. For more information, please visit:

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. For more information, please visit:

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. Legendary has built a library of marquee media properties and has established itself as a trusted brand which consistently delivers high-quality, commercial entertainment including some of the world's most popular intellectual property. In aggregate, Legendary Pictures-associated productions have realized grosses of more than $17 billion worldwide at the box office. To learn more visit:

Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
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