Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s VR piece Carne y Arena recently won accolades at Cannes for its attempt to produce empathy for border crossers with an Oculus Rift headset.
Chun asks Steyerl what topic she is currently working on. She responds that virtual technology is one subject she is tackling. Instead of considering Jaron Lanier (the best known Silicon Valley progenitor of VR), Steyerl is going back to 1938 and Antonin Artaud and his The Theater of Cruelty. Steyerl suggests that the VR experience produces something unlike empathy. “You can put yourself in a refugee’s shoes, but it [VR] is something more like empathy as Airbnb.”