Democracy In America2008

An episodic collage made from the cacophonous jumble of ideas, opinions and attitudes floating in the American ether, Democracy in America is a continually shifting billboard advertising and animating the desires and dreams of the multitude. Democracy in America is not art about politics – it is art made in a political way.

During phase 1, the consumers were the creators. Through an online store that was open from November 26 through February 29 2007, the public was invited to imagine and purchase the entire show – part and parcel – including the content. Any and all elements of what would be seen and experienced on stage were for sale. Shoppers submitted text, personal anecdotes, stories and jokes, physical or non-verbal actions, themes and concepts, and all elements of the design. One might’ve chosen to see a particular image or gesture, or performed a kiss, a dance, a cartwheel. Another may have chosen to buy a costume, a sound cue or a prop.

Then Annie Dorsen, working in collaboration with Okwui Okpokwasili, Philippa Kaye and Tony Torn, assembled the results.

A 4 dimensional collage made from the desires of the public, Democracy in America has been described as conceptual vaudeville and live channel-surfing. 


Annie Dorsen
video design
Kate Howard
lighting design
Sarah Sidmon
sound design
Bart Fasbender
Katherine Profeta
Philippa Kaye, Okwui Okpokwasili and Tony Torn
creative producer
Sunder Ganglani
photo by Justin Bernhaut
photo by Justin Bernhaut
photo by Justin Bernhaut


""Democracy in America," a cunning satire of contemporary politics that transforms selling out into performance art...The director, Annie Dorsen, who conceived "Democracy" and directed “Passing Strange” on Broadway, returns power to the people in a more all-American way: she lets us buy it."

Jason Zinoman,
New York Times