LevelFive performance / Brody Condon (2011)
LevelFive was a performance workshop inspired by the self-actualization seminars that first became popular in the 1970s. Also known as “human potential marathons”, these near religious experiences aimed to bring about profound changes in participants’ lives. In reality, they have been criticised for creating a generation of selfish consumers. As Adam Curtis put it in his 2002 BBC series The 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.”
For LevelFive, Brody Condon recruited a cast of volunteers to explore the controversial seminar process. Prior to the performance each participant worked with a team of specialists to create an alias for themselves, a new identity they were given the chance to play out in the performance itself.