The Commoners

Penny Lane and Jessica Bardsley

2009, 12:30 minutes, English


In 1890, one man had the idea to collect every bird ever mentioned in Shakespeare's writing and release them into Central Park. The only bird to survive in the New World was the European Starling, now one of the commonest birds in America. Its introduction is widely considered a major environmental disaster. The Commoners is a moving image essay about starlings, poetry, and the purist rhetoric we use to describe "invasive species." It is also about the paths people forge through history, intentionally or not, as they attempt to change the natural world. A collaboration with Jessica Bardsley.

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