Nay, I'll Have A Starling

The project as a whole has been moved to: www.starlingmigration.info

"Nay, I'll Have A Starling" is so far Klara Hobza's most extensive body of work. In progress since 2005, it's based on the following story: In 1890, Eugene Schieffelin and the Acclimation Society of North America decided to bring all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's plays to the USA from Britain. Among them were 60 European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), because Shakespeare had mentioned them in Henry IV: "Nay, I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak nothing but Mortimer'" (Part I, Act 1, Scene 3).

The birds were released in New York City's Central Park, and their first nest was found on the roof of the American Museum of Natural History. Since then, the European Starling has spread very successfully in North America, and today we count over 200 million. Note that there are only 300 million starlings worldwide, and in Europe their population is on the decline. Many regard the European Starlings as pests for destroying crops and stealing native species' nesting cavities. They are colonial breeders that are considered aggressive and noisy--an invasive species.

In her role, as a European, Klara feels guilty about the trouble the European Starlings are causing. She decided to capture 60 Starlings in Central Park, send them back to England, and release them in Buckingham Palace Park.

Klara has been working on this subject since summer 2005. Within the topic, she produced a huge variety of works, spanning the genres of video, installation, performance, magazine intervention, illustration and performative lectures. A selection of them is documented here. Each of these works represent the stage that Klara was at, trying to fulfill her quest. As of today, she is still intending to continue her project until all 60 starlings are back London.

The body of work orbiting around the task of "Nay, I'll Have A Starling" is essentially a fable, on topics of immigration and ownership of land and nature.