Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Academy Award®-Winning Virtual Reality Installation CARNE y ARENA to Debut in Omaha, Nebraska

A groundbreaking and immersive virtual reality experience travels to KANEKO.

June 9, 2022 – September 10, 2022

OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Academy Award®-winning virtual reality experience CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible) explores the human condition of immigrants and refugees.

CARNE y ARENA will be presented for the first time in Nebraska by KANEKO, in partnership with Vic Gutman & Associates, Emerson Collective, PHI Studio, Legendary Entertainment, and Fondazione Prada. This immersive VR experience recounting the harrowing journey of Central American and Mexican refugees is set to open on June 9, 2022, in KANEKO galleries after numerous sold-out runs in the U.S. and abroad.

Originally presented at the 70th Festival de Cannes in 2017, CARNE y ARENA was the first VR experience ever chosen as part of the festival’s Official Selection. Created with frequent collaborator and three-time Academy Award®-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, CARNE y ARENA employs state-of-the-art immersive technology to create a multi-narrative light space with human characters and explores the human condition of refugees and immigrants during their journey.

The 20-minute solo experience is based on true accounts. Called by critics “a must-see” and “genius” and described by attendees as “life-changing” and “powerful,” CARNE y ARENA blurs lines between subject and bystander as individuals walk in a vast space and thoroughly live a fragment of the refugee’s personal journeys.

Following its 2017 premiere, five-time Academy Award-winning director 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 is produced by PHI Studio, Emerson Collective, and Legendary Entertainment in collaboration with Fondazione Prada.

In addition, the following Omaha institutions are also coming together to serve as community partners for CARNE y ARENA, including Vic Gutman & Associates; UNO: Goldstein Center for Human Rights; UNO: Office of Latino/Latin American Studies; Immigrant Legal Center; UNO: Center for Afghanistan Studies; Holland Children’s Institute and the Holland Children’s Movement; Afro Omaha; International Council for Refugees and Immigrants (ICR) Elevate Omaha; Completely KIDS; Inclusive Communities; and the Rose Theater.

Virtual and live programming will be held throughout the run of CARNE y ARENA, with additional community partners presenting content and events as it relates to their exhibitions and programs.

Advance bookings for timed tickets are on sale now at

KANEKO Partnership Recognition

KANEKO would like to recognize our partner Vic Gutman & Associates for the crucial fundraising efforts to succeed in this project.

Sponsorship Recognition

We also would like to thank The Sherwood Foundation and The Holland Foundation for making it possible for this incredible experience to come to Omaha.

Quotes from Partners and Supporters

“A blend of many artistic disciplines, cutting edge technology, and community engagement, CARNE y ARENA is a massive collaboration by creatives from multiple countries and diverse backgrounds to create an inspiring experience that inherently results in a forum for our community to have a thoughtful conversation and create lasting partnerships. CARNE y ARENA is a perfect experience for KANEKO.”

– Stephan Grot, Executive Director, KANEKO

PHI’s mission has always been to provide a forum for artists and to generate dialogue with the public around contemporary issues that impact our collective existence. The CARNE y ARENA experience highlights a human situation that affects us all. By literally walking in the footsteps of these migrants and refugees, we have no choice but to become aware of a reality that may seem remote. That’s why, after discovering this striking work at its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and then later in Washington, D.C. we made every effort to adapt the installation so that it could move from one city to another and be experienced by as many people as possible.

– Phoebe Greenberg, Founder and CCO, PHI

“CARNE y ARENA’s power is the incredible experience of walking in someone else’s shoes, creating empathy, and discovering there is more to a story than simply what you read in the news. Our partnership with the KANEKO will give Nebraskans the opportunity to feel and see the experience, offer room for dialogue, and broaden awareness about the immigration experience.”

– Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder and President, Emerson Collective

“During the making of this project, 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 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.”

– Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Director

For more information, please visit For media inquiries, please contact Erin Sorensen on behalf of KANEKO at 402-578-2000 (cell) or or Christopher Halbkat at 402-341-3800 (desk) or


Erin Sorensen

On behalf of KANEKO

402-578-2000 (cell)

Christopher Halbkat


402-341-3800 (desk)

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