Lead Researcher, Innovation Center of Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (MOME)
Ágnes Karolina Bakk: narrative designer and researcher at the Innovation Center of Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest. She focuses on immersive storytelling & the science of magic, and currently leads two research projects: 1. on romantic relationships in Metaverse-like environments 2. psychological restoration in a specific VR prototype. She is the founder of the Zip-Scene conference (next edition 2022 November); cofounder of Random Error Studio, a lab that supports various VR productions and the co-curator of Vektor VR section. She teaches immersive&VR- storytelling, speculative design and presented at various conferences and platforms from Moscow to Montreal and at festivals (e.g. DokLeipzig). She is currently involved in several video game productions and works on her own artistic VR creation.
“Spending time in VR can be a tool for confidence.” Dating in Metaverse
Online social VR platforms are often used to initiate and maintain new relationships, including romantic ones. Many users claim that virtual reality they are judged only by who they really are, and not by how they look. They can change their avatars as many times as they want to, and in many cases they use their ‘outfit’ just as an excuse to start a conversation with a stranger. At the Innovation Center of Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, we conducted a qualitative research with young adults who use social VR platforms to investigate how these social VR situations affect their romantic dates. In my presentation, I would offer a glimpse into their views of virtual friendship and romantic relations and also what intimacy means for them in VR, and how ‘phantom sense’ can be a new phenomenon that would be worth exploring. I would also explain how these platforms can be a good tool for overcoming boundaries, but also how the ethical rules of our physical lives are applicable to social VR as well. I will also include points about the possible long-term negative effects of dating in VR, including the users’ dependency on technical tools.