Victoria Bradford Styrbicki (b. 1980) is an interdisciplinary movement artist and embodied storyteller, working in dance, video, social practice, and ethnography. Her upbringing as a Southern female coping with mental disability shapes the lens through which she investigates, creates, and expresses her experiences. As a fragmented body navigating multiple realities, Victoria offers reflections on society, time, and place in its present. Victoria’s practice takes shape through the use of performance, installation, improvisational and somatic techniques, and writing. Her work allows her to make sense of the present by examining it alongside the past in the hopes of creating otherwise possibilities in our nearest future.
Victoria currently works as Executive and Artistic Director of A House Unbuilt, a non-profit organization built around whole body listening practices, a way of reading and writing movement from life through field research, social practice, and studio research. This work of “social choreography” has led to such noted projects as Dinner Dance (in collaboration with Hannah Barco), Skirts (in collaboration with Jessica Cornish), Neighborhood Dances, and most recently Relay of Voices.
While often leading to museum and gallery exhibitions, Victoria’s projects focus on public space. Partnerships with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Defibrillator Performance Gallery, Chicago Cultural Center, Mill City Museum, the cities of Chicago, IL, Saint Paul, MN, La Crosse, WI, Marianna, AR, Greenville, MS, and Plaquemines Parish, LA to name a few, have been instrumental in the public engagement and impact of Victoria’s work. In addition to these institutional alliances, these projects thrive through collaboration with other artists, research institutes, environmental organizations, political organizations, arts organizations, governments and government agencies, individual citizens, and communities at large.
In her most expansive example of this practice, Victoria developed and executed Relay of Voices, a multi-state durational performance that engaged hundreds of local communities and individuals in storytelling about past and present conditions of place. In order to mount this project, she received the Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Award for breakout choreography and presented related work at both the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Center. This work ties back to her origins in Coastal Louisiana and the environmental, political, and cultural dialogue specific to that region and places like it.
Victoria studied visual arts, anthropology, and theology at the University of Notre Dame (BFA) and visual arts and performance and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA). She has a history in the arts as an organizer, scholar, maker, and administrator, previously founding Poor Pony, a small non-profit that began her public creative practice, then serving as Deputy Secretary for the State of Louisiana’s Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. She was also awarded a Board of Regent’s Fellowship in Comparative Literature at Louisiana State University.
Victoria is now living and working in Stillwater, MN.