Elena Motiejūnaitė

Socio-Communication project, Virtual Reality installation: The Forgotten Woods

Nowadays commerce influences not only people’s lifestyle and leisure, but also children’s education. Commercialism of fairytales has also become a common phenomenon, which not only influences the survival of the fairytale tradition, but also transforms the meaning and effect of fairytales. Child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim who noticed this tendency back in 1975 wrote that “The dominant culture wishes to pretend, particularly where children are concerned, that the dark side of man does not exist, and professes a belief in an optimistic meliorism.” Today it has become even more obvious: in children stories the biggest challenges are mostly casual everyday problems. This project is a Virtual Reality installation that demonstrates a positive side of the most common villain characters of Lithuanian folk tales. While existence of negative characters in ancient folk tales has a purpose of highlighting the dark side of the human nature, traditional, archetypal characters of cultural heritage play a huge role in children’s mental growth. In this installation spectators become witnesses of a child’s inner monologues dedicated to three antagonists: the Witch, the Devil, and the Dragon.