Photo © Clara Chabalier

the defence
before survivors

transmedia prototype

inspired by « the invention of morel »

by adolfo bioy casares

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?

a presentation of the project


I got interested with mixing old and actual technologies. 

The lenses used in nowadays 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 of the places where the prototype should have been presented, with the actual place, shot in 3D. Here is a sample of The Fort in Belfort. 

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. 


A part of the theatrical team realized a podcast based on   the three first scenes of the performance. 

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 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. 


Clara Chabalier

developpement chatbot

Johan Lescure


Lisa Peretti

retouche images

Guilhem Monceaux

Podcast realised by 

Clara Chabalier and Julien Fezans


Clara Chabalier and Adèle Chaniolleau


Alexandre Pallu - the refugee

renaud bertin - stoever

Adèle Chaniolleau - irène

Julien Fezans - montgomery

Clara Chabalier - theatre directions

musical interventions by 

Alvise Sinivia

under the influence of 

Camille Alloing

Fanny Georges

Geoff Tansey

What is Open Access?

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.

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.