Smartphone Orchestra

Smartphone Orchestra: The Social Sorting Experiment

Date: Time: 21:15 Location: Black Box, Esplanade building

EXPERIENCE - Face-to- Facebooktheater with the audience in the lead. Experience the manipulative power of digital data in this revealing live performance. Come on time, full is full! (language: English & Dutch)

Join one of the three sessions:

Are you an influencer, or are you a troll still hiding in the closet? Or a cat lover maybe, and addiction-prone perhaps? Your likes reveal everything about you and they are used to manipulate you into buying and watching things, and may even influence what party you vote for. In ’The Social Sorting Experiment’ people in the audience experience first hand the manipulative power of digital platforms during an absurdist and interactive performance in which theater, gaming, and music are joined, and in which you and your smartphone play a leading role. And while you’re at it, who knows, you may well make some ‘good old analog friends’ the old-fashioned way!


Swiping and scrolling, liking and sharing, we all leave a digital trail behind on social media. When these data are combined with insights from data science and psychology, a very detailed digital profile emerges. Social media and dating apps use this profile to decide how to ‘best’ serve our needs. However, recent events show that this information is not just used to further personalize our online experience, but also to manipulate and influence us. Cambridge Analytica was a case in point in this respect.

What can be done about this? Quitting all online activities is not an option, but with the help of knowledge, skills, and character you can arm yourself against the manipulative power of social media. “And that” as Vincent Wiegerinck, project leader of the Tilburg Educational Profile, observes “is precisely what we are trying to do here at the university: our courses are not just about transferring sound academic knowledge and training skills, but also about training critical thinking and self-reflection.”      


The project is a huge success. The first edition of The Social Sorting Experiment was selected for the 2018 IDFA DOCLAB competition, and was performed, among other places, at SXSW, Flipside festival Singapore, and Sheffield Doc/Fest. The Social Sorting Experiment has been nominated for a Dutch Golden Calf award for Best Interactive Project at the Nederlands Film Festival (Dutch Film Festival).            

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