Emotein : Essence of pure emotion between fiction and reality at the frontier of transmedia.


by Alain Bezancon, published on 21.03.2012

Since August 2009, Emotein presents a new storytelling model on the theme of the changing role of emotions in the world. The project uses various means of expression for addressing the theme and the story (Emotein) through the prism of multiple approaches and experiences. The video, the book, the play, the objects, the interviews, the photos, the music are all independent and complementary ways to discover the Emotein universe. The vision is materialized with original creations presented via digital media (website, ebook, podcast, iPhone app) whose purpose is to initiate events and meetings.


Genesis of the concept


The patent of the century: The memory of water

> Do tears contain a memory of our emotions ?

> Consume emotions to live more

> Selling tears

> Emotein – essence of pure emotion




The Creations

Emotein places the creative and experimentation processes in all aspects of the project: in the concepts discussed, in the technologies and in the media used.



It is central to the Emotein project. The clips are designed and optimized for mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, iPods) and displayed in the portrait format. HD movies are presented via the Emotein web site, an iPhone app developed specifically for the project as well as illustrations for the audio book.



“The Tear Thief” is a novella written for the Emotein project that presents a world where emotions are disappearing to make way for selling the tears and emotions they contain. The text was released as an ebook and as an audiobook. The ebook is available for download at the Emotein site as well as many other digital platforms (Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Feedbooks, Smashwords, Kobo, etc.). The eBook is also part of the Emotein iPhone app.



The dramatic environment of “Emoshow” is inspired by the « Tear Thief » novella and presents a character who is losing his ability to feel emotions and who is trying by every means to keep his humanity by consuming Emotein. The aim of the play is to allow the public to discover the themes of the Emotein project through a living experience inducing emotions and thoughts.



Experts from different fields (biotechnology, art history, sociology, pharmaceutical cosmetics, neurology, psychiatry) were interviewed to comment the themes addressed by the Emotein fiction. Written transcripts of the interviews are available at the Emotein web site and the iPhone app, audio versions are part of the audiobook.



4 sets of photographs are presented in portrait format at the Emotein web site. It was realized during the shooting of videos and also show subjects inspired by the other creations such as the lachrymatories or a character of  «The Tear Thief » book. Photos are available at the Emotein web site and the iPhone app.



An original composition was written for Emotein. It is used for the video, the audio book and the iPhone app.



The Emotein team has designed original objects (lachrymatories and a raw silk dress) that weremade ​​to measure by artists and craftsmen. Some were used as accessories for the video and other creations are derived from the concepts presented.





As the project is not commercial, with no sponsors and not attached to a famous brand, the free digital contents were released without being subject to any promotion. In this context it is interesting to measure the “spontaneous” quantitative results related to the types of contents across different platforms.

After just over two years of online presence, it is finally “The Tear Thief” book in its digital (eBook) format that seems to generate the greatest traffic closely followed by the audio format (podcast). Because of the lack of accurate statistics on the different platforms we can only provide estimates. The number of downloads of the eBook (English and French) is estimated at 30.000 and 20.000 for the audio version.

The ranking of the eBook and podcast on various sites also provides some information about the popularity. In March 2012, “The Tear Thief” is ranked in the top 20 free books on iTunes France, in the top 15 all categories on Feedbooks (eBook) and in the top 20 literary podcasts on iTunes France.

Other contents (videos, photos, music, interviews) on other platforms (web, app store) seem to have been totally buried, especially for English versions.

With the technologies used and the variety of platforms it is very difficult to evaluate the synergy between contents such as the number of people who downloaded the ebook and who then viewed the videos.



As each content item is an experience by itself and as they are dispersed across different platforms, it is difficult to measure the impact of the synergy or complementarity that they may have between them and also to evaluate the nature of the narrative experience for the audience.

However, the use of multiple channels and the bilingualism were effective tools to reach an international audience and offer many entry points to the Emotein world with the pleasant surprise of the “success” of the ebook and audiobook.

From the perspective of the creative process of this production, it is interesting to note that the creation of the contents have influenced and enriched one another. The creative teams have worked together on their respective projects with ongoing communication between them. For example, elements of the book being written have been used during the filming of the movie which itself inspired the design of the dress that was then worn by a model (a silicone one)which later became part of the book.

Despite the free availability of the contents, the creators of the project were able to see through the public comments that the expectations in terms of quality were as high as for paid content.

In a digital world where everything is free or almost free and infinitely duplicable, the unique real life experience takes on a new dimension. For this reason the Emotein project considers as important the creation of physical events. The idea is to create more or less immersive experiences like the play, the bar of emotions (happening), the meeting of the Emotein corporationshareholders (scripted reality), the creation of molecular cuisine dishes (sensory experience). The creation of these experiences is the physical extension of the project that continues it’s life through encounters and the participation of enthusiasts who want to join this work.

In conclusion, Emotein is a unique emotional “passport” facilitating the meeting of new people and the creation of new works. The creators of Emotein position their “transmedia storytelling” experiment in a trend defined by the technological improvement of media (eg iPad 3 Retina display), the search for meaning and the need to live unique and comprehensive digital and real life experiences.



Article about Emotein by le Laboratoire de Recherche sur les Œuvres Hypermédiatiques

AArticle about “Le voleur de larmes” by Libération (July 8,2010)

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author Alain Bezancon

Depuis toujours passionné par la prospective et les thèmes d'anticipation, Alain Bezançon décline sa vision dans différents domaines de création : édition de logiciels, écriture, production artistiques pluridisciplinaires.