Magelis, a multimedia publishing house, was created by my wife, Sylvie,
and myself, in September 1993, when the multimedia industry was at its
very beginnings. The company existed for eleven years of highs and lows,
it was finally liquidated at the beginning of 2005, after which it was
bought out by the company Takoma.
I was the company director. Sylvie, a film-maker and story teller,
was in charge of conception and production. The core production team was
made up of the following, present at different periods of the company's
existence: Philippe Bertrand, Laure Calandre, Fabrice Ferries (graphic
artists), Pierre Priot (multimedia engineer), Laurent Padiou (Flash animator),
Boris Alet (PHP and MySQL programmer), Mamy Rasolomona, Erwane Monthubert
(scenario writing, project management). The commercial and administrative
staff were made up of: Nathalie Burel, Véronique Bulmer, Patrick
Augé and Sonia Gonzalez.
Magelis was created around an experimental work, an interactive cartoon
strip, which had been made in 1992 and which received a "Noteworthy" mention
in the first "New Voices, New Visions" competition organised
in New York in 1994 by The Voyager Company. The incredible possibilities
opened up by interactive media, explored in this work, led to the creation
of Magelis. The initial objective of the company was to make a commercial
version of the cartoon strip: the ultimately unfruitful quest to find
financing for this project haunted the entire existence of the company.
In 1997 we made a second prototype, called “Overexposed!”
Magelis’s brief career in publishing covered the production of two
CD-ROMs. "Panic on Screen" (1994) was a video memory game. "Charivari
de Chat-Mâlo" (1996), was a game-narrative about a village
of cats, for young children.
Lacking the financial means necessary for publishing, Magelis reorientated
itself towards the business market, providing services in web site and
CD-ROM creation and production.
The company continued to serve as a platform for creative research,
while endeavouring to provide our clients with the best multimedia that
we were capable of producing. Over the years, we built up a vast clientele,
based both in the Toulouse region and in Paris. Our speciality was the
representation of content, scenario narrative, interactivity, and simulation.
We saw our task as being the development of the pedagogical aspects and
meaning of the subject at hand.
The company worked for clients in industry, services, administration,
culture, environment, education, tourism, health-care. They included:
the CNES (Centre National des Etudes Spatiales, the French space agency),
the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Assemblée Permanent
des Chambres de Métiers (national trades council), the France 5
television channel, the Zebda rock band, the Banques Populaires, the Centre
de Formation de la Profession Bancaire, l'Aerospatiale, British Aerospace,
Sanofi, the French Pork Industry, a bronze foundry for artists, a granite
quarry, the Toulouse Municipal Undertakers... Over a hundred clients,
for a full panorama, see the reference
section on the Magelis web site.
We always brought our fullest commitment to our work, whatever the
issues - scientific, social, cultural... Among the assignments of which
we were most proud: a CD-ROM combatting racism in job hiring made for
the Assemblée Permanent des Chambres de Métiers; a CD-ROM
and web site explaining the Topex-Poseidon and Jason oceanography satellites
for the CNES; a web site explaining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
for France 5.
The production process was based upon a method of collegial teamwork,
where each member's dignity and creativity was expressed as part of the
whole. The collective nature of the project articulated the complementarity
between the competences of each individual. Magelis's ethos was always
founded on human relations, creativity, and production quality, before
financial imperatives. Profitability should safeguard the viability of
the activity - the activity should never be mere vehicule for profit.
Forever fragile, Magelis was ultimately unable to weather the zigzagging
fortunes of the multimedia market.
The company always looked to engage people with a personal artistic
activity - their "secret garden" - since this guarantee of talent
and spirituality, entertwined with Magelis, was a source of great benefit
and well-being for our collective professional existence. Magelis's modus
vivendi was one of amity, mutual respect, and incredibly good humour.
At 4:30 every afternoon there was a noisy minute long party (joined by
the dentist in her office next door).