Crowd Control

Crowd Control – a social experiment exploring collective behaviour in the urban environment

In July 2017 a Crowd Control Centre will be housed at Arebyte Gallery to undertake a series of interdisciplinary social experiments examining human communication, cooperation and collective intelligence in Hackney Wick.

Artist Heather Barnett will invite a team of disciplinary experts and the local population to devise games, design experiments, collect data, and elicit spontaneous happenings to explore how groups move together, transfer information, make decisions and exploit their local resources.

The project is a creative examination of the controls that affect our collective behaviour, looking at biological mechanisms such as hormone response and sensory cues, addressing our social norms and expectations, and examining the legal restrictions and technological interventions in our environment.

The project team will comprise a range of disciplines, combining visual art, behavioural ecology, sonic art, choreography, digital design, endocrinology, law, theatre, crime, urban planning… Collectively we will explore group dynamics across differing scales and species, from single-celled organisms, to herding sheep and flocking birds, to complex patterns of human behaviour. Merging expertise in behavioural ecology, computational modelling, digital arts and performance practices, Crowd Control will generate a series of participatory experiments and responsive artworks that creatively explore the collective interactions between individuals, groups and their environments.

The Collective Residency will run at Arebyte Gallery, 29 June – 16 July, culminating in the Crowd Control Festival, 21-23 July, three days of exhibitions, events, experiments and happenings at a range of venues and sites across Hackney Wick.

More info to follow…


We are keen to work in collaboration with local individuals, groups and communities and are seeking interesting sites and venues in the area. If you would like more information or would like to get involved please contact Heather.