Live Roleplaying Performance, 2 days
Hammer Museum of Art, Los Angeles
LevelFive was a participatory performance focused on critically exploring self actualization seminars from the 1970's such as Large Group Awareness Training sessions like Erhard Seminars Training. LevelFive was not a actual self-actualization seminar, nor is it affiliated with any actual Large Group Awareness Training company or group. Players arrived as their characters, and were expected to emote and experience as their characters, with minimal interruption, for the 2 day duration of the game. Only participants were allowed in the performance space itself, while the footage from 3 cameras recording the event were mixed live and analog streamed for the public to the nearby theater during scheduled hours of the event.
Although the performance LevelFive utilized many of the structures of these early self transformation events, it was not focused on re-creating any particular one of them. The performances by Brody Condon are an experiential investigation into the ideological legacy of this historical type of group gathering and its influence on contemporary culture. According to the Adam Curtis documentary Century of the Self, “The trainings became hugely successful... But in the process, the political idea that had begun the movement for personal transformation began to disappear. The original vision... had been that through discovering the self a new culture would be born, one that would challenge the power of the state. What was now emerging was the idea that people could be happy, simply within themselves. And that changing society was irrelevant.”
Concept/Direction: Brody Condon
Seminar Leaders: Russell Edge and Carolyn Almos
Game Mechanics: Bjarke Pedersen
Character Development: Tobius Wrigstad and Monica Traxl
Production Manager: Liz Glynn
Wardrobe: Lauren Tafuri
Video: Dan Martinico, James West
Live Mix: Jim Fetterly
Web Design: MisterMachine
Commisioned by: San Jose Zero1 Biennial and Machine Project in conjunction with the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, with assistance by Southern Exposure in San Francisco.
Special thanks to: Mark Allen, Allison Agsten, and Elizabeth Cline