Crowd Control: Gallery-Residency

An interdisciplinary arts project exploring collective behaviour in Hackney Wick

Led by Heather Barnett

29 June – 23 July 2017


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

Opening Event
Friday 21 July, 6-9pm
arebyte 117 Wallis Road

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

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


Crowd Control Festival

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:
Events Programme, 22-23 July

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)

Migrations of Cool is a live action street game about the movements of artists throughout the city. The pattern 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).


Twitter | Instagram: @CrowdControlLDN #CrowdControlLDN


Crowd Control Collaborators

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 – see below).


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 ( 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

Other members of the research group will join the project, including Amanda Fry, Daniel Strombom, and Dimitra Georgopoulou.


Joining the team of researchers and practitioners are: Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (law and spatial justice); Anna Piva (sonic art); Liu Yang (urban design: agent based modelling); Josh Greenfield(urban design: swarm systems); Annarita Papeschi (urban design: crowdsourcing); Emma Ribbing(choreography); Jamie Harper (theatre); Kira Wainstein (project assistant).