Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Carne y Arena — Jean Gagnon

[Fall 2021]

Arsenal art contemporain
17.03.2021 — 15.08.2021

By Jean Gagnon

It has long been possible to experience virtual reality works in Montreal,1 and in spring 2021 a “must-see”2 was Carne y Arena (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible) (2017) by Oscar-winning filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu.3 The presentation in Montreal was thanks to the efforts of Myriam Achard of Centre PHI, who had seen it at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017. That year, the film received a Special Oscar for “exceptional storytelling experience.” But Iñárritu’s work at Arsenal is even more ingenious, for his installation cannot be summarized simply in narration, and the experience is not simply virtual.

As we wait our turn to enter the first gallery,4 we have the time to look at a wall of undulating, rusted sheet metal. A wall text explains that this is a part of the border wall between Mexico and the United States. This type of panel was used originally in Vietnam by the American army to encircle landing zones for helicopters. Recycled from the military-imperialist complex, this artefact represents both the domination and the protectionism of an arrogant, but frightened, United States….


See the magazine for the complete article and more images: Ciel variable 118 – EXHIBITING PHOTOGRAPHY