Level Five


Level Five was a 2 day live role-playing game focused on critically exploring self actualization seminars from the 1970’s.

Players arrived as their characters, and were expected to emote and experience as their characters, with minimal interruption, for duration of the game. Only players were allowed in the seminar space, while the 3 channel video was mixed live and analog streamed for the public to the nearby theater during scheduled hours of the event.

Although the game Level Five utilized many of the structures of these early self transformation events, it was not focused on re-creating any particular one of them. These events 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.”

Game Designer: Brody Condon
Seminar Leaders: Russell Edge and Carolyn Almos
Interaction Mechanics: Bjarke Pedersen and Tobius Wrigstad
Camera: Dan Martinico, Paul Shin
Live Mix (LA): Jim Fetterly

Commissioned by: 2016 Berlin Biennale, AND Festival Liverpool,  San Jose Zero1 Biennial and Machine Project in conjunction with the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, with assistance by Southern Exposure in San Francisco.
2016 Berlin Biennale, ADK Berlin