I use video elements in much of my work -- including multimedia projects, performance work that often incorporates video, and my video / projection design work for theater and music -- but this page features my stand-alone experimental short films and video pieces.
My Father’s Name
digital video with sound, 2018
shot & edited by Sid Branca
I shed my father's name like a snake, and then I ate the skin. held all that silent history in my hands and took it in like it was food, like I was starving, like it was that gourmet shit my father never cared for. and I spent years passing pieces of my father's name out of me in spasms, in waves, picking remnants out from underneath my fingernails even though I keep them short, because anything that sticks around too long becomes a weapon. time means the accumulation of hazards. us in that house, gathering dust. my body that must always be in motion. to be caught not in the midst of transformation is to be caught. mostly now I see my father's name in hospitals, and in the darkest corners of my mother's house where there are many dark corners. the recollection of my childhood has a grime to it, like old electronics. dust, but somehow sticky. static cling gone on too long. now I arrive like my ancestors, bursting out of small boats into new york city with all my hope in newness gestured wildly. but then I walk through a red door and my father's voice emerges from my mouth with all the wrong accents. I enter with a deep whining howl, and I leave with a suitcase full of dust. it has followed me all the way to a new house. a new name could not throw my bloodline off the scent. at least at long last I have stopped casting all these men to play him, and have taken on the role myself. I refuse to believe that if we do not //// /// /////// we become them, but I have already tried to be my mother, and that's when I set the house on fire. I look for the mother in my father's pain, I reach down into the dim memory of his daughter and I pull out a son, an infant wailing into the VHS static of my brother's birth, playing out in the living room at a dinner party. another memory I cannot confirm, another tape I cannot find or play. I imagine myself born a cowboy, and not a loud italian woman from new york. and the older I get the more I see his face in the mirror. but we were both born wrong, rolling up pieces of tape to pull dust off our vocal chords, pulling at our ill-fitting clothes, scratching at the lives we somehow built around ourselves by never throwing anything away. I have dedicated many hours to the fine art of discard, while still picking things out of someone else's garbage, and I rode that bike until the day I moved away. out of the trash everything comes, and into the trash everything returns. no one has to be their father, and that includes our fathers. no one has to be my father, and that includes my father. I will clean my own damn house.
Sid Branca and Max Perenchio
digital video with sound, 2018
shot and edited by Sid Branca
sound by Max Perenchio
performances by Sid Branca, Max Perenchio, Brian Selke, Nicola Sargent, Liz Pompe, Dana Snoo, Justine K, Yella, Sunny Bee Schoen
The Feminine Touch
digital video with sound, 2017
performances by Emily Esperanza and Sid Branca
shot and edited by Sid Branca
note: contains menstrual blood, is possibly NSFW
But Who Will Be Famous, When We Are Dead?
digital video with sound, 2016
consider, here, the constellations. a meting out of sky, eighty-eight pictures for all the observable to fall within. I give each one a piano key. we write pop songs. there is a film I’ve seen a hundred times or more, with a scene I persistently misremember. I imagine this means something. I hear in my head James Earl Jones’ booming voice intoning “remember me, remember me, remember me,” as he fades into the darkness above Simba’s head. I think of the ghost of Hamlet’s father, moaning from the earth underneath our prince and his companions. a deep rumble demands “swear, swear, swear.” but I am wrong about the lion. the gigantic image in the stars is saying something similar, but not the same. “remember who you are.” to remember the past you must participate in the present. to be a passive observer is not to be. a Hamlet sort of trouble. yet without an audience, who is there to gesture upward and say look, there, see the lion, or the huntsman, or the princess who was beautiful and kind. Krotos, son of Pan, is the originator of applause. clapping his hands together in delight at the work of the Muses, all those pretty girls he grow up with. and they loved him, because he fed them with his praises. so they fixed him in the sky to be remembered always. to chase fame, in a sense, is to run from death. but for a constellation to exist there must be one who stands on earth, gazing up. for the dead to live forever, there must be some survivors left. to be remembered is a dance that outlives the dancer. it seems survivors are necessary for tragedy, spectators for a spectacle. for something to be sad, someone must be watching. a live camera feed of my body disintegrating. deep in my mausoleum of dead links, a skeleton with ever-increasing subscriber counts. the sudden urge to check the myspace profiles of my dead friends. the longstanding wish to clean house. the terror of not knowing what a legacy would even look like. I want to be famous for my own survival, because the more people know I’m alive, the more it feels like it might be true. I consult the oracle and wonder, if the web is a net, what is it designed to catch? if the net is a web, what it is designed to hold? what is a Hamlet without his Horatio? O good Horatio, what a wounded name, things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me! If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, absent thee from felicity awhile, and in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain— but who will be famous, when we are dead?
digital video with sound, 2015
shot in Waco, TX, text written and recorded in Chicago, IL, commissioned by Justin Velander Holt
the subtitled version of Penelope:
a contemplation of Penelope from Homer’s Odyssey.
What a foolish thing it is — you spend so much time preparing to commit to the presence of someone else, grooming your devotion until it is ready to sigh on someone’s shoulder, some man you have spent much of your girlhood imagining. You wonder whether it will be difficult to always want him when he wants you — you wonder if he will be handsome, you wonder about the scent of his hair pressed near your cheek as he sleeps, or what tic or habit you will have to employ all your grace to ignore. You must assume you will love him, but you cannot help but worry that the base physical reality of him being there might sometimes get in the way of loving him. Weighing all the affection you feel against the filth of life, a man’s kind words and noble actions against his dirty laundry, drawn-out belching, hair in the sink, flicking snot, itching balls, the I have seen too much of you and my days are growing less mysterious and romantic. You think about how you will preserve the coy smiles and the passionate love notes despite the day-in day-out of years. You prepare yourself to love a constant presence in the face of time. But we are wrong. All along, we should have been preparing for absence. It is hard enough to love a man in flesh and blood, how do you love a man in empty air? What does it mean to love a man I cannot see? It is dangerous to let him become like a god, something to be worshipped from afar while distance smooths out all his rough edges, but dangerous too to be without devotion, to let yourself forget, to live your life as if you were not caught somewhere between a wife and a widow, a woman made of waiting paces. Who am I for you when you are not here? Who are you for me when you are not here? And who am I for myself?
A Suppliant of Glamour
digital video, 2014
digital video with sound, 2014
camera: Chelsey Shilling
digital video with sound, 2013
video by Sid Branca and Lauren Piper Caldwell, sound by Tim Schaefer, analog video assistance from Brian Klein
Be sure to watch in HD for an increasingly unsettling experience. For maximum effect, use the last of your laptop battery during a power outage, alone, accompanied only by the rustling of tree limbs and a scent you can't quite place but that seems oddly familiar. Stale peppermint, perhaps, or burning paper, dirt. Potential epilepsy trigger warning.