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 conducts research in this field and is also a lecturer at training institute Pro Education. I initially spoke to Wendy at home and the research she was working on at the time had similarities with the subject of the documentary. So an interesting conversation soon ensued, inviting a follow-up. Wendy was keen to be interviewed for this film and hosted us at Pro Education in Amsterdam. There, she gave her views on the information society.

dr. T. de Graaf (Tom)

Wendy Jansen introduced me to Tom de Graaf. Tom is a brain researcher at Maastricht University’s Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. We travelled to Maastricht and filmed Tom at a dummy MRI scanner, which is used for demonstrations and to get (especially) children used to the idea of the MRI. Apart from an interesting story, Tom gave us a tour of the laboratory.

prof. dr. M. Kamermans (Maarten)

Maarten Kamermans is head of department at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN) and also professor of neurophysiology (in particular sensory physiology) at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Amsterdam. I came across Maarten in the University Library during my search for the subject of perception. I stumbled across his inaugural address, tantalisingly titled “the seeing of the unforeseen, the unforeseen of the seeing”. After reading this, there was sufficient reason for me to get in touch. Maarten was keen to cooperate. After a very interesting conversation, we were able to view and film the research laboratory in detail.

drs. R. van Kranenburg (Rob)

Rob van Kranenburg I already knew him from college, where he lectured on “The council & the internet of things”. Rob had a fascinating way of explaining not only the beautiful but also the dark sides of the information society. I approached Rob via e-mail and was able to arrange an appointment. After meeting at café Latei on the Zeedijk in Amsterdam, thanks to Rob’s contacts with the Waagsociety, we were able to film in the beautiful Theatrum Anatomicum of the Surgeons’ Guild in the dome of the Waag on Amsterdam’s Nieuwmarkt.

ir. G. Pijpers (Guus)

Guus Pijpers is founder and director of Acuerdis and is Associate professor of information behaviour at TIAS Business School in Tilburg. One of my fellow students had already given me an article by Guus on the properties of information in early 2010. I also saw his name pop up regularly in the media when it came to information behaviour and information diseases. So I decided to ask if he was willing to cooperate. Within two weeks of my first phone call, we met in Eindhoven. Guus had booked a room in Kennispoort and there we talked at length about his area of expertise.

B. Veldhuijzen van Zanten (Boris)

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten is an internet entrepreneur. He regularly appears in the media. I had already seen him a few times on De Wereld Draait Door. In this cast, an internet entrepreneur, someone who works in practice at the heart of the information society, should not be missing. I sent Boris an e-mail asking if he wanted to join and shortly afterwards I got a response. Boris invited us to P. King’s on the Vijzelstraat, close to his office. And so we ended up at what was once Amsterdam’s first Chinese restaurant, for a good chat with Boris.

prof. dr. R. van der Vorst (Roland)

Roland van der Vorst was one of the guest lecturers during the course. He then talked about his book on curiosity. Meanwhile, there was also a book about hope, and in the conversation we even talked briefly about his next book, about standing out. All topics that relate to the theme of this documentary. Besides being a researcher in the field of communication, Roland is co-founder of communication consultancy THEY in Amsterdam. He welcomed us to his office in the old gumball factory, where we had a nice conversation and both spontaneously came to new insights.

“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.