sid branca dot com

Artist's Statement

My work exists at the intersection of pop culture, classical tragedy, and fictionalized autobiography, drawing on their parallels in an interdisciplinary pastiche practice.

I create performances, texts, videos, music and sound pieces, images, installations, and digital works, alongside explorations into other media. I draw on a diverse background ranging from the academic (comparative literature, poetry translation and composition), to the corporeal (body-based performance art, physical theatre), to the spectacular (rock n roll, burlesque, circus), selecting techniques for my practice from these various disciplines.

I blend the critical discourse of literary canon and the contemporary urgency of pop culture with my own lived experience, creating performative works that aim to spark conversation about violence, sexuality, and mental illness, and the commodification of all three in contemporary capitalism. Everything I make is inevitably informed by not only my artistic and academic background, but also my gender identity, sexual politics, and my relationship to illness and pop culture.

As investigations of the political underpinnings of pop culture, the contemporary reverberations of classical images, and media portrayals of mental illness in celebrities, my projects are often dark, submerged in the effects of cyclical and inherited violence, but also strive to maintain a clown’s sense of humor: both sad and funny, satirical yet sincere.

Pieces typically feature my own physical body, or its conspicuous absence or mediation. The body’s relationship to media, in particular the gendered experience of mass-media and the Internet, is a recurring theme.

My current line of inquiry uses as a springboard the tragic plays of Classical Athens, and the cult of celebrity found in 20th- and 21st-century American pop culture, especially in the music industry. I am developing a body of work framed as the creative output and documentation of a fictional pop star, Elektra, inspired by these combined sources and my own lived experience.


Sid Branca was born Samantha Branca Cook in 1987 on Long Island, near the former site of Wardenclyffe Tower. She moved to Chicago in 2005 to attend the University of Chicago, and received her BA in Theater and Performance Studies in 2009. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts & Media at Columbia College Chicago, and is a member of First Floor Theater, the College Art Association, and the New Media Caucus.