The better world you’ve been waiting for is coming. It’s just waiting for you to #neednothing.

#neednothing was an interactive response to Invisible Children‘s notorious Kony 2012 campaign, and the widely reported nervous breakdown of its creator, Jason Russell.

The production consisted of an online campaign in the model of Kony 2012, and a performance framed as a seminar about the campaign, led by a charismatic figure similar in fervor and sincerity to Invisible Children’s Russell. This campaign seriously advocated the absurd idea that the answer to humanity’s ills is to ‘need nothing’, primarily to live a life rejecting love, responsibility and emotional bonds.

Rehearsals for #neednothing - Photo Credit Colin Chaloner

The faux-seminar, part devised with a cast of three including John ScougallAlasdair Hankinson and Lucy Monkman, engaged its audience-participants in a satirical interactive process as our Jason Russell figure crumbled trying to prescribe an absolute moral position in the face of a complex world.

Our audience engaged to different extents with both the online elements and the staged events of the work. Each audience member’s experience of the piece was unique, depending on the extent to which they engaged with and followed the #neednothing team.

This campaign, like Kony 2012 before it, centred around a glossy, exuberant viral video, advocating an “experiment” in the way we live our lives, driven by an individual with a deeply-held and sincere desire to eliminate suffering from the human experience.  The video was supported by a fictional community of online advocates, sharing stories about how eliminating the need for love and community enhanced their lives. Real participants used the twitter hash tag #neednothing to share similar stories.

#neednothing was presented as part of Arches Live 2012 at The Arches, directed by Rob Jones and written by Michael John O’Neill.