Audrey is a young girl who suffers from hallucinatory fits during which she sees whales. After undergoing tests, she discovers there’s an anomaly in her brain that enables her to remain underwater for prolonged amounts of time.

Phallaina is a scrolling graphic novel for tablets and phones, accompanied by a monumental installation. The Phallaina app is completely free and available in both French and English.


In a world similar to ours, the cities have adapted to the rising waters. Built on stilts, they apprehensively await the next tidal wave. Audrey lives in one of these cities. Since she was a child, she has been subject to hallucinatory fits during which her field of sight is invaded by giant white whales. In the last months, her condition has worsened, preventing her from focusing on her work. She consults a neurologist, the Dr. Chaillet. He diagnoses her with a particular form of epilepsy and discovers she has a «physeter». This anomalous cerebral structure increases Audrey’s ability to hold her breath underwater and seems to be connected to her fits.

Phallaina interactive graphic novel

Marietta Ren about the scrolling graphic novel format:

“The format is inspired by the first forms of graphic narration such as Mathilde Bayeux’s tapestry, ancient Chinese scrolls or mural frescoes from classical antiquity. It is the movement of the viewer’s eyes and the sliding of his hand on the tablet which create motion. This format enables a narrative hybrid somewhere between cinema, comic book and illustration, which can adapt to different reading habits and mediums.“


The user experience is fluid and straightforward: A simple swipe of the finger allows you to move the story forward.


The Phallaina interactive graphic novel app is accompanied by a physical fresco with an interactive audio system. The fresco and app premiered at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in 2016.


Author: Marietta Ren

Studio: Small Bang in co-production with Nouvelles Écritures.

Sound designer + musical director: Côme Jalibert

Technical director and engine developer: Christophe da Silva

Animation and compositing: Julien Baret

Assistant director: Martin Bessin

Executive producer and production manager: Alexandrine Stehelin

Delegated Producer + Creative Director: Pierre Cattan

Phallaina is co-edited by the Small Bang studio and France Télévisions Nouvelles Écritures. The Oïkos agency is in charge of the conception and the insertion of the fresco installation.

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