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Judit Navratil
Szívküldi Lakótelep: a VR Social Housing Neighborhood

I have been researching belonging and emotional care in digital communities with a focus on
new pedagogies that support desegregation, fight polarization and discriminating data.
Exploring former and recent cyberfeminist approaches, the intention of furthering this research
is learning to be good ancestors and helpful digital doulas around the birth of a potential AI,
thus co-creating a safe space for the grandchildren.

My methodology is based on my lived and virtual experiences. Since 2006, I’ve lived as an
immigrant in various countries and cultures, continuously rerooting in different localities,
nurturing and oscillate between offline and online, long distance relationships long before
social distancing and #movingonline become the new default. Therefore, in 2018 I started to
grow a virtual social housing neighborhood, a multi-layered art project that considers the
possibilities and dangers of ‘home’ in cyberspace. Through this PhD program I would like to
summarize and properly journal these experiences and the learning curve of developing the VR
neighborhood that also includes a social VR art residency program that I founded in 2020.

My study excavates the potentials of cyber topophilia through reflecting on my personal case
of growing up in the late communism of Hungary, being privileged to move abroad to South
Korea, California and British Columbia and the attempts to plant seeds of love in the void of VR
as a compass for my homesick heart. I dedicate this work to support the development of
post-pandemic pedagogical tools for the new generations to inhabit and shape the
Metta-verse* with good intentions and care.

*I switched using the trite term metaverse as the well-known corporation expropriated this commons, rather referring
to the meditation practice.

Supervisor: Ruth Schnell

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Szívküldi Lakótelep: a VR Social Housing Neighborhood by Judit Navratil