Group Intelligence

by Ariel Fristoe

in Global Connections

Post image for Group Intelligence

Group Intelligence will play the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in June! After premiering in Atlanta last spring, we played the Oerol Festival, an enormous site-specific theater festival in The Netherlands, and this spring we’ll tour the U.S. One interesting development is, we’re playing science festivals, not just arts venues, including the Philadelphia Science Festival and the Cambridge Science Festival.

Last spring, Out of Hand brought the Dutch site-specific theater company The Lunatics to Atlanta to research and develop Group Intelligence, a free, spectacular outdoor Event about origins of life chemistry. We developed Group Intelligence in collaboration with the National Science Foundation/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution. The show is a kind of flash mob in which the audience is the performer: the audience takes part by following instructions delivered through MP3 players, and through their actions, the participants model the self-assembly patterns of molecules that create life.

We learned so much from collaborating on an original creation with The Lunatics. We collaborated with The Lunatics last year as well, but that was the remake of a project we had already developed (Hominid, based on Frans de Waal’s research), and so the process was very different. This time, we spent four solid weeks devising and developing Group Intelligence together, and we were daily witness to The Lunatics’ inspiration and ideas, including the creation of a large structure that the audience erected together at the finale of the event. Global Connections was the only resource we could find to help us bring The Lunatics to Atlanta. While Group Intelligence was funded largely by the National Science Foundation, the NSF did not fund any international activities or collaborators. Without the support of Global Connections, we would not have been able to bring The Lunatics here, introduce Atlanta to Dutch-style site-specific theater, and learn from our collaboration with them.


Ariel Fristoe, Co-Artistic Director, Out of Hand Theater

Ariel founded Out of Hand Theater in 2001 with Co-Artistic Directors Adam Fristoe and Maia Knispel. Out of Hand makes new work for new audiences by collaborating with international artists and scientists and touring our work at home and abroad.
Adam Fristoe, Co-Artistic Director, Out of Hand Theater

Adam founded Out of Hand Theater in 2001 with Co-Artistic Directors Ariel Fristoe and Maia Knispel. Out of Hand makes new work for new audiences by collaborating with international artists and scientists and touring our work at home and abroad.


The Global Connections program was designed by TCG and is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Learn more here.