The Defense Before Survivors

A transmedia project
inspired by « the invention of morel », by adolfo bioy casares
developped in the frame of open access

About the Invention of Morel

The Invention of Morel is a novel written by Argentine author Adolfo Bioy Casarès in 1940. 

A fugitive hides on a deserted island. Tourists arrive, and his fear of being discovered becomes a mixed emotion when he falls in love with one of them, Faustine.  The fugitive decides to approach her, but an anomalous phenomenon keeps them apart : she does not react to him. He assumes she is ignoring him; however, his encounters with the other tourists have the same result. Nobody on the island notices him.

He comes up with all sorts of theories about what is happening on the island, but finds out the truth when Professor Morel, the host of the island, tells his guests he has been recording their actions of the past week with a machine of his invention, which is capable of reproducing reality. He claims the recording will capture their souls, and through looping they will relive that week forever.

My final aim is to set up a theatrical adaptation based on this novel. This prototype shows the research I’m doing in order to find how this questions  resonate nowadays, and how to write my adaptation. I think these novel has a very brilliant point of view on the relationship we have with technology : how similar is the narrator’s attempt to talk to the tourists, to our interacting on the Web with videos, texts, sounds, produced in the past, and looping on and on, like ghosts? 

1 - Stereo-Tourism

Did you know that the lenses used in nowaday virtual reality helmets were already used by photographers in the 19th century to watch 3D pictures? Most stereoscopic methods present two offset images separately to the left and right eye of the viewer. These two-dimensional images are then combined in the brain to give the perception of 3D depth. 


One part of the transmedia project was to superimpose old stereoscopies from Lisbon with the actual place, shot in 3D. With the sanitary crisis, all travel is cancelled and I am not able to do this, but I recorded a message instead, that might make you understand the process. 

 Message to the Survivors

3D video : 

Launch the video in full screen on your smartphone, then put your smartphone in a stereoscopic helmet (Google Cardboard or VR helmet for instance). 

2D video : 

Watch the video presentation in 2D on any device 


2 – Human-machine dialogue 

I was even more interested by the fact that this narrator is obsessed with Malthusian theories that he wants to gather in a book entitled : «The Defense Before Survivors».  On the diary’s final entry the fugitive describes how he is waiting for his soul to pass onto the recording while dying. He asks a favor of the man who will invent a machine capable of merging souls based on Morel’s invention. I decided that this would be the starting point of my prototype. 

I reached several researchers that would help me to make the link between overpopulation issues and overproduction of pictures : 

  • Gérard-François Dumont, demographer, editor-in-chief of « Population & Avenir », Rector at University Paris La Sorbonne 
  • Geoff Tansey, working for fair and sustainable food systems, Curator at Food Systems Academy
  • Charlotte Debest, Doctorate in sociology, author of « The choice of a Life without a child » 
  • Camille Alloing, Professor at Social and Public Communication Department of University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), autor of several books about e-reputation 
  • Fanny Georges, Maitre de conference in Science of Information and Communication at La Sorbonne University – Paris, researcher in digital representations 

With the help of Johan Lescure, developer, I put parts of our conversations into a chatbot. Please be patient, the bot is still experimental, but the more he talks with you, the more he takes lessons from his mistakes. 

3 – Theatrical Project

Clara Chabalier will set up the theatrical adaptation of The Invention of Morel. 

The performance will be untitled : The Defense Before Survivors. 

Théâtre de Lorient – CDDB hosted Clara Chabalier and Adèle Chaniolleau (dramaturge) in may 2020 to write the play. A residence in BUDA Kunstcentrum (Courtrai, Belgium) is scheduled in April 2021. 

What is Open Access?

Experimenting with performing arts and transmedia creation
Project supported by Creative Europe

Technological and digital changes are profoundly changing our daily lives and the use we make of them. Both artists and institutions are affected in their working methods and the processes of creating and producing works. These issues, re-balanced in the context of the current health crisis, change the links with the public. Having a collective and collaborative logic, creating a new shared history, interdisciplinarity and participation of the audience is embedded in the matrix of the projects that has a result the creation of eight artistic prototypes. 
In March 2019, eight European artists were selected to follow a journey of exploration and experimentation comprising four laboratories, a residence and three public presentations of the prototypes of their artistic projects.
What is transmedia?
The experimental process chosen was to integrate transmedia creation in the various disciplines of the performing arts. Transmedia allows artists to tell a story using everything that makes up our daily lives through different media. Each media used develops its own and different content, not just a duplication but rather an enrichment of the story, to offer a global experience to the public through the multiplicity implicit in its development. It thus becomes a « playing field » for artists in the « living arts », contributing to the development of new aesthetics, but also so that the public that can experiment, play a role, contribute, choose and also tell stories.
We hope that this form of cooperation and new methods of production and sharing can raise questions about the social challenges we face and possible future paths.
For 26 months, the OPEN ACCESS project revolves around laboratories, festivals and seminars, organized in the four European countries of the partner entities. These artists were supported throughout this journey by the transmedia mentors Karleen Groupierre and Anaïs Guilet, in the creative development by Simon Coates and John Hunter, in the collective intelligence by Marie-Julie Catoir-Brisson, in addition to several professionals from the creative and research sectors.Cliquez sur le bouton modifier pour changer ce texte.



October 2-11th, 2020 : Cluj-Napoca [RO]

November 7-8th, 2020 : Lisbon, [PT] 

In the frame of Temps d’Images Festival

November 26-28th : Belfort [FR]

Scène Nationale Le Grrranit


Lab #1 – Bucarest, May, 11. – 20., 2019
Transmedia Storytelling: A Non-Linear And Interactive Narrative

The Lab #1 organised by Colectiv A based in Cluj takes place in Bucarest in partnership with CINETIc – INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN INNOVATIVE CREATIVE TECHNOLOGIES and several other associated partners.

What story would be to tell? And how do we to tell a story that is both expanded, extended in time and located or dispersed in geographical space (the European space), and across multiple artistic disciplines and media and / or digital platforms?

Lab #2 – Lisbon, November, 3 – 10, 2019
Exploration Of The Multiplicity Of Spaces: Theatrical Space, Public Space And Virtual Territories

The Lab #2 organised by DuplaCena – Festival Temps d’Images Lisboa takes place in Lisbon in partnership with several associated partners, such as Ymago Editions ; National Dance Company – Victor Córdon studios ; CIEBA – Artistic Studies Research Centre, Faculty of Fine Arts Lisbon and others to come.

DuplaCena does not have its own space and the Festival Temps d’Images Lisboa is a highlight that unfolds in different places in Lisbon over several weeks. This theme and the explorations carried out on the spot will thus make it possible to work on a stronger connection between these spaces and to add the audience and virtual space.

In this lab, we explore the coexistence of several spaces, particularly within a transmedia live performance work. Indeed, such a work can be deployed in several spaces simultaneously and consecutively. So how can we play with these « remote stages » through a narrative?

What are their qualities and characteristics (we can then question the notion of spaces, places, territories, geography, non-places)? And how can we link the audiences of these different spaces? In this sense, it will be necessary to question the spatial organization of the stage and the room, the public space, the space of the action and the space of listening and gaze. Moreover, if telepresence is relatively recent and related to the explosion of the Internet, this question might also test geolocalisation technologies, virtual reality and the internet but also precursory remote presence processes such as the phone or radio.

Lab #3 – Cardiff, April 5. – 11., 2020
Approaching Interdisciplinarity, Pop And Fan Culture

The Lab #3 organised by National Theatre Wales should have taken place in Cardiff as part of the Festival Experimentica in partnership with Chapter Arts Center and other associated partners. But because of the sanitary crisis, the lab went virtual.

In this lab, we have deepened the interaction of artistic disciplines and other disciplines, such as the social sciences and humanities. How can they combine in a transmedia work?
How is the relationship with theater audiences developed in a form with dance extensions, installations and so on?
Since artists come from a variety of disciplines, it is interesting to observe the exchanges and transfers of skills that take place within the group and how they echo scientific disciplines.
It will also be an opportunity to explore the pop and fan culture which is part of transmedia’s DNA and to understand how to build audience inclusion and interest, create a community of fans. The fan culture summons various processes such as Paul Booth specifies in his book Digital Fandom: the creative fan who can be found in blogs (eg fan fiction); the gift economy, an economy of reward and gift for the fans, which promotes social relations in a digital world and amounts to connecting the production and consumption of media content on an equal level; and, new forms of identities and expressions, for example when fans reclaim characters by creating fictitious profiles on various social networks but which can also be realized from a performative point of view (in real life situations).

Lab #4 – Belfort Montbéliard, September, 21. – 28., 2020
Going Deeper: Serendipity, Gamification And Other Games…

The Lab #3 organised by Le Granit Scène nationale de Belfort (MA avec Granit) should have taken place in Belfort and Montbéliard in partnership with several associated partners, such as the Laboratoire ELLIADD and the IUT Belfort – Montbéliard / MMI Departement from the University Franche-Comté, the UTBM – University of Technology of Belfort Montbéliard, VIADANSE and others. But because of the sanitary crisis, the lab went virtual.

This lab, under the sign of the deepening, gives the participants the possibility to « dig » deeper into the first themes and the work of the last three laboratories by using various practices and technological processes. It will also be a question of preparing the residency time and the festivals that will follow.
That means also to face the question of the audience more frontally, in particular by questioning the relationship through design-thinking, until now always present in filigree. This method intends to ask the question of the audience (or user) at the time of the development of the object without ever losing sight to whom it addresses throughout the manufacture.