Crowd Control Festival

21 Jul 2017 – 23 Jul 2017

Cost of entry


arebyte Gallery

England, United Kingdom


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Interdisciplinary arts project exploring collective behaviour in Hackney Wick


arebyte announces details of the Crowd Control Festival (21-23 July). Hackney Wick becomes playground and petri dish for a weekend of games, experiments and exhibits delving into the collective interactions between individuals, groups and their environments.

Crowd Control connects art, science, law and urban design in an interdisciplinary study of the control mechanisms that affect human behaviour - exploring how groups move together, transfer information, make decisions and respond to change.

Join the team to participate in this unique social experiment.

Based at arebyte gallery from 1-23 July, the project is a collaboration between an eclectic team, working together to devise experiments and experiences designed to encourage us to think in playful and curious ways about how complex behaviours can emerge from simple elements.

Crowd Control Exhibition

Testing Station

An exhibition of experiments and visualisations from observations of collective behaviour, simulations, agent based modelling, motion tracking and data mining in Hackney Wick.

arebyte 117 Wallis Road

Opening event: Friday 21 July, 6-9pm

Exhibition continues Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 July, 12-6pm



Crowd Control Events

Participate in a range of games, walks and experiments that explore different aspects of collective behaviour and urban living, taking place at arebyte galleries and other locations in Hackney Wick.


All events are free but booking is required. Full details at:

www.crowdcontrol.london. The events include:


Nesting Groups: a creative game of resource distribution and sustainable living

Saturday 22 July | 11am-1pm (Victoria Park)

Nesting Groups combines art and ecology in a creative game of resource distribution and sustainable living. Through processes of making and negotiating, explore the complex interconnections between communication, cooperation and competition as you attempt to protect your individual interests whilst maintaining diversity and balance. Social evolution meets environmental sustainability through collective creativity.



Escaping the Lawscape: a game of compliance, deviance and justice

Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 July | 2-4pm (start at arebyte White Post Lane)

The lawscape is an invisible structure that controls our actions, affects our choices and alters our behaviour. We will reveal the hidden architecture of control, the layers of influence that keep us in line, that limit our choices. First you will comply, then you will resist, and finally find the space of justice in a series of games winding through the local environment exploring conflicts and cooperations that make up the fabric of Hackney Wick.



Migrations of Cool: live action street game where artists shape the city

Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 July | 3-5pm (start at arebyte White Post Lane)

The pattern of gentrification is well known: artists seeking low-cost work spaces find a foothold in old industrial areas and gradually, creative communities emerge. But the commodification of cool turns creative scenes into targets of regeneration and, with rising rents, the artists are often forced to up sticks and move on. Is this pattern inevitable? Or are the other ways of operating? This game is an invitation to play your way towards some potential answers.


Animal Collectives: games for grown ups exploring group behaviour

Sunday 23 July | 11am-1pm (Victoria Park)

Inspired by the collective behaviour of other living systems such as birds, fish and sheep you are invited you to lose individual human ego for a couple of hours and test your capacity to coordinate and cooperate as part of a collective. Data collected will form part of a study on crowd behaviour for Swansea University (SHOAL group) and inform the collaborative work they are doing with Artist in Residence (Heather Barnett).


For more information please contact Rosie Beaumont-Thomas at arebyte: rosie@arebyte.com.

Crowd Control Residency

Crowd Control is a collaboration between artist Heather Barnett, curator Nimrod Vardi and behavioural scientists Dr Andrew King and Dr Ines Fürtbauer, joined by specialists in performance, law and urban design and forms part of a Leverhulme Trust funded residency to explore the art and science of collective behaviour. By connecting visual, digital and performance art practices with contemporary scientific research, law and urban design, the project explores human communication, cooperation and collective intelligence in Hackney Wick, East London.

arebyte gallery is a young contemporary space dedicated to New Media and Performance Art, based in Hackney Wick, East London. It is a leading organisation in providing further access to information about digital technologies and new media, and offers audiences meaningful engagement with these developing art forms. arebyte ensures that every artistic project explores exciting new ways of educating and involving its community.

Heather Barnett’s art practice engages with natural phenomena, complex systems and biological design. Working with live organisms and imaging technologies, her work explores how we observe, influence and understand the world around us. Projects include microbial portraiture, cellular wallpapers, performing cuttlefish, and an ongoing ‘collaboration’ with an intelligent slime mould, Physarum polycephalum. She teaches on the MA Art and Science at Central Saint Martins (University of the Arts London) and chairs London LASER art and science talks. She is currently a Leverhulme Artist in Residence with Swansea University). www.heatherbarnett.co.uk

Dr Andrew King is an Associate Professor and Behavioural Ecologist at Swansea University conducting research in the field of social behaviour. His research group SHOAL (www.shoalgroup.org) works with a variety of group-living fish, bird, and mammal systems, and is most well-known for his work investigating the evolution and ecology of leadership. Dr Ines Fürtbauer is a Senior Lecturer and Behavioural Endocrinologist at Swansea conducting research from a comparative and evolutionary perspective. Her research team rely on behavioural observations in the field and laboratory and the application of non-invasive hormone analysis techniques to understand variation in behaviour and physiology www.ines.fuertbauer.com. Other members of the research group will join the project, including Amanda Fry, Daniel Strombom, Laura Cappelatti and Dimitra Georgopoulou.

Joining the team of researchers are: Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (law and spatial justice); Liu Yang (urban design); Josh Greenfield (swarm systems); Annarita Papeschi (urban crowdsourcing); Jamie Harper (theatre); Julius Colwyn (artist, designer) and Kira Wainstein (project assistant).

Optional quotes:

Lead artist on the project, Heather Barnett, comments:

“I’m excited to see what happens with the project - there are so many possibilities for exploring the underlying mechanisms of collective behaviour in interesting ways. I imagine that experiments will combine observations of social norms, playing collective games and conducting unusual explorations of the local area – but with such an eclectic mix of researchers, practitioners and local communities, who knows what will emerge…”

Collaborating behavioural scientist Dr Andrew King comments:

“It is both great fun and a real challenge for us scientists to work is a subjective way – finding innovative ways to create interesting experiences for the public and also useful data for us“

What to expect? Toggle


Nimrod Vardi

Exhibiting artists

Heather Barnett


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