gives context, shape, and direction to complex questions regarding information


De Informatiemaatschappij
David Jorritsma
Edward Wrightstraat 13
1086 WC Amsterdam
+31 6 52 13 42 24

The documentary

Are you interested in the making of this documentary? You can read about it here.

The more people are curious and learn something from information, the more valuable that information becomes. In order to reach as many people as possible, I decided to turn my thesis into this documentary:

Dutch and English subtitles are available.

According to author Els Beerten1 the ideal narrative arc for a work of fiction consists of seven points:

  1. Exposition
  2. Conflict
  3. Complication
  4. Rising action
  5. Climax
  6. Falling action
  7. Denouement

The Blake Snyder beat sheet
It’s important to me that a film is interesting, and I was eager to use Beerten’s theory. However, I had no idea how to turn the theory of the story into an actual script – until I found a more detailed version of this: The Blake Snyder beat sheet2.

Dick Rijken once gave a lecture on the narrative arc of a story, as described by Aristotle. The beat sheet is little more than a framework for films using Aristotle’s narrative arc. Countless Hollywood movies can be analysed completely with this beat sheet. The advantage of this method is that the scenes are more detailed, as there are 15 steps rather than 7, and that the proportions are noted in time, or script pages per scene.


  1. Beerten, Els (2003). Vingeroefeningen: tips van schrijvers voor schrijvers. Leidschendam, NBD Biblion Publishers

dr. W. Jansen (Wendy)

Wendy Jansen has written several books on “organising with information.” She has researched this area extensively, and is also a lecturer at the educational institute Pro Education. I initially met with Wendy at her house, and the research project she was working on at the time overlapped with the themes we covered in the documentary. This led to an interesting conversation; one that called for a follow-up. Wendy was happy to be interviewed for this documentary and invited us Pro Education in Amsterdam, where she explained her view of the information society.

dr. T. de Graaf (Tom)

I came into contact with Tom de Graaf through Wendy Jansen. Tom researches the human brain at the faculties of psychology and neuroscience of the University of Maastricht. We travelled down to Maastricht and filmed Tom in front of a dummy MRI machine, used for demonstrations and to familiarise people, mostly children, with the idea of an MRI. Aside from an interesting story, Tom gave us a tour of the laboratory.

prof. dr. M. Kamermans (Maarten)

Maarten Kamermans is the department head of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN), as well as professor of neurophysiology at the faculty of medicine of the University of Amsterdam. I first came across Maarten in the university library while researching perception. I found his inaugural speech, intriguingly titled “Seeing the unpredictable, the unpredictability of seeing.” After reading it, I was eager to contact him. Maarten was happy to work with us. After a very compelling conversation, we were allowed to view and record the research laboratory.

drs. R. van Kranenburg (Rob)

I met Rob van Kranenburg during my master’s programme, where he lectured on “The council & the internet of things.” Rob not only described the good, but also the bad aspects of the information society, in a highly interesting way. I emailed Rob, and we scheduled a meeting. We met at café Latei on the Zeedijk in Amsterdam, after which, thanks to Rob’s contacts at the Waagsociety, we were able to record inside the beautiful Theatrum Anatomicum of the Guild of Surgeons, in the dome of the Waag on the Nieuwmarkt in Amsterdam.

ir. G. Pijpers (Guus)

Guus Pijpers is the founder and director of Acuerdis, and Associate professor of information behaviour at the TIAS Business School in Tilburg. One of my fellow students gave me one of Guus’ papers on the characteristics of information in 2010, and his name regularly appeared in the media, in connection with information behaviour and information diseases. For that reason, I decided to ask him if he was willing to be a part of our project. Within two weeks of our first phone call, we met in Eindhoven. Guus had arranged a room in Kennispoort, where we discussed his field of expertise at length.

B. Veldhuijzen van Zanten (Boris)

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten is an internet entrepreneur, who regularly appears in the media. I had seen him several times on De Wereld Draait Door, a Dutch television programme. In a cast like this, an expert like him, who works in the heart of the information society, is a must. I emailed Boris to invite him to join the project, and he responded soon after. He invited us to P. King on the Vijzelstraat, close to his office. That’s how we ended up in what was once Amsterdam’s first Chinese restaurant, to have a fascinating conversation.

prof. dr. R. van der Vorst (Roland)

Roland van der Vorst was one of the guest lecturers in the master’s programme. In his lecture, he discussed his book about curiosity. Since then, he’d written another one about hope, and during our talks we briefly touched on his upcoming work, about standing out. All these topics are related to the theme of our documentary. Besides communication researcher, Roland is co-founder of the communication advice agency THEY in Amsterdam. We met with him in his office in a former gumball factory, where we had a wonderful conversation, and both came to spontaneous new conclusions.

“One day, our hearing will adapt to music like this,” Voltaire sighed, as he left the Opéra. He had just seen the first performance of Les Indes Galantes, and was still dazed by what he called “the double sharps in the music.”

Voltaire wasn’t the only one who had trouble with the orchestral violence of Rameau; even during the performance, the harmonic noise in the opera-ballet caused some upheaval (…). The audience complained they could not follow the spoken lines, because the music droned it out. The singers claimed they could not manage the large interval leaps. The orchestra complained about the odd and harmonic twists. Finally, music critics stated that Les Indes Galantes contained enough music for a dozen operas.1

Musical Information overload
To me, this experience, which happened back in 1735, seems like the contemporary equivalent of information overload. When I visited this same opera in 2004, in a joint Spanish-Polish-Dutch production, the makers had clearly done everything in their power to give me, as a modern-day audience, a similar experience.

This explains why it was an easy decision to use a theme from this opera as the starting point of the music used in this documentary.

From theme to arrangement
The musical theme of this documentary was inspired by “La danse du Grand Calumet de la Paix,” from the last act of Les Indes Galantes, “Les Sauvages.” Below are two fragments of this part of the show, performed by soloists, choir, and ensemble Les Arts Florissants, led by William Christie.

Inspired by this music, I created the arrangements myself. They are repeated, in various forms, throughout the documentary.