Gorba (Uprooted) 2022

Gorba (Uprooted) is a multiplayer VR experience for the Oculus Quest that encourages the exchange of stories carried in virtual objects. It was created over 4 days for the 2022 StoryJam event in Utrecht, Netherlands in October 2022.

The project was created in collaboration of Team B – four women with different backgrounds – Iran, Syria, Ukraine and Colombia. Together we brainstormed and came up with what united us – a feeling…


Anna Bilenka (Story) Maf’j Alvarez (Unity VR dev) Bushra Alhamdan (Narration) Nina Soltani (Architecture)

Look at these names: Anna, Nina, Bushra, Maf’j

Do they tell you something?

Refugee? Newcomer? Buitelander?

What’s the title you’ll use to specify our existence in a new country?

When I arrived in NL, I was just one new buitelander. I was wondering why the size of the steps is different? Why do I have to have a summer jacket? And no one is using umbrellas when it’s raining.

I also felt empty.


Moving to a new country is not a blanket page to start with; it’s a page where I left everything behind and was lucky enough to collect my favorite stuff in two suitcases. Some people don’t even have that privilege.

There are more things I left behind:

I left my culture, the sound of the streets, the national holidays and fests we celebrated together, the songs my parents used to sing, the poems I memorized as a kid, and the patterns in clothes my grandmom used to wear. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of it here, and the sadness wave collapses on me.

We might not have the same memories, but we share the same feelings. Is it so obvious to tell that about me, just looking at my skin colour, appearance, and name?

Hackdash project page: https://hackdash.org/projects/6329f37c6d202d739f69cdf6
Github repo: https://github.com/blujay/newneighbour

All content © Copyright 2024 by Maf'j Alvarez.
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