Jessica Bardsley & Penny Lane
Running time: 12:30
High definition video with 5.1 sound
In 1890, one man had the idea to collect every bird ever mentioned in Shakespeare 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 used 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.
Penny Lane is a filmmaker and video artist whose work has shown at Int'l Film Festival Rotterdam, San Francisco Int'l Film Festival, Images Festival, AFI FEST, Women in the Director's Chair, and MOMA. She has been awarded grants and awards from the New York State Council for the Arts, LEF Foundation, Puffin Foundation and Experimental Television Center. Currently she is a visiting professor in art at Williams College and in pre-production on a feature documentary about goat testicles and Mexican radio. And yes, Penny Lane is her real name.
Jessica Bardsley is an artist and filmmaker working toward her MFA at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago
Jesse Stiles - sound design
Dylan Winter - additional footage