Legendary Films

Virtual Reality Exhibit Provides Immersive Border Crossing Experience

When long-time client Legendary Films teamed up with Mexican film director Alejandro G. Iñárritu to deliver a one of a kind Virtual reality exhibit, they turned to Diversified to help bring their vision to life. “Carne Y Arena” (“Flesh and Sand”) is a unique experiential installation that immerses the participant with the elements and experiences of illegally crossing the Mexico-United States border.

The single-guest exhibition contains three acts: A Cold Storage Room, The Desert and the Hall of Portraits. The exhibit includes virtual reality (VR) experience and transport, audio systems, motion capture, LED and show lighting, digital signage, and an operator control room to create the immersive illusion.

Guests begin in “A Cold Storage Room” with controlled environmental elements maintained via the operator’s room. Sitting in cold isolation, the visitor removes their shoes and awaits the handler’s signal to go on. In “The Desert”, guests are given VR goggles, headphones and a backpack for their journey. As the main part of the exhibit, it simulates an illegal border crossing complete with sand covering the floors, overhead helicopters via large high-speed fans, floor-standing sub woofers, and sequenced show lighting from an LED array in one wall. An attendant assists the participant as they interact with other crossers, animals and border agents while horns and strobes complete the immersive experience. Diversified was tasked with the challenge of enabling guests to freely wander the 50’ x 50’ “desert” space. To accomplish this, the team had to discover a way to increase the transport distance between the VR unit and the control room to a range of 150’-160’.

The visitor then exits through the “Hall of Portraits” with images and stories of actual border crossers. The exhibit debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May and has since been hosted in Milan, The Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, and Mexico City. In addition to solving the transport extension dilemma, our team was also responsible for show control (LED lighting, audio controls and IPCCTV), consolidating the various drawings into a single package, then installing, servicing and decommissioning the experience in each location.