Collidescope: Adventures in Pre and Post-Racial America

by Jeffrey Dorfman


     What do anthropological aliens sound like? Working alongside Ping Chong and Talvin Wilks, we created a holographic chamber in which America of the past and present is analyzed. As an avid sci-fi fan, it was a dream create my own alien system that explained, processed, and reacted to the viewer. From recording the inside of giant winches to sampling tele-type machines, you can feel every surge, glitch, and stutter of this advanced species. Apparently adopting english has caused some errors with the simulation. Now let us open File #7x233922*) as we examine the history of racial violence in America.


Excerpt from Ping Chong and Talvin Wilks;

"In response to the unjust killing of Trayvon Martin, the debate around Stand Your Ground Laws and the seemingly perpetual killings of black men and boys, Collidescope is a collision course view of the legacy and psyche behind this history of violence in America. Taking an “alien” view of this aspect of “human” behavior, the gaze of Collidescope places the issues of racism and race violence under a microscope. The world of Collidescope is an anthropological space, a vitrine in which to observe a “species” from a seemingly rational, scientific view.

The proceedings on stage form an anthropological POV. All scenes are associative, not linear, connecting thematically - creating an impression of free association. Traveling from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, exploring the pre-Revolutionary War era when freedmen and slaves were contemplating their rights in a soon to be independent nation, then back to present day, the work creates a cubistic frame, revealing different angles from which to observe the often tragic history of Black and White race relations. The conclusion of which inevitably must lead to a litany of tragedies e.g. Travyon Martin, Jordan Davis, Sean Bell, Yusef Hawkins, Emmett Till, Hattie Carroll and countless others. This overview is a poetic shorthand of the injustices perpetuated against African Americans across time in these United States. "



Written & Directed by Ping Chong & Talvin Wilks

Scenic Design by Lydia Francis

Lighting Design by Max Doolittle

Costume Design by Kara Waala

Projections Design by Ian McClain

Sound Design by Jeff Dorfman


Kogod Theatre at University of Maryland (2014)

Photo by Stan Barouh