Island for Weeds, 2003
Starling’s installation examines the categories of “native” and “invasive” plant species. The weed in his installation is a rhododendron, a plant imported to Scotland from Spain in the eighteenth century. After a long history in Scotland, the plant is now considered an invasive species and is often removed from the environment.

“Starling wanted to take the rhododendron….back to its native Spain…. With his remigration project, Starling raises questions. What makes a species a weed? How (un)natural is it that this rhododendron feels so safe at home in Scotland? Why does this plant belong to Spain but is seen as an alien, an immigrant, in Scotland? How many generations does it take before you can call a species a native species?”1 Often a plant is labeled “invasive” when it no longer meets our needs — many non-native plants that fill our plates or decorate our gardens are rarely described as “invasive” species.

See the Yes Naturally exhibit.

1Yes, Naturally: How Art Saves the World, (Rotterdam, NL: Nai010, 2013), 63.


Breathing, 2008
Breathing combines organic and synthetic materials to form a “creature that responds to its environment through movement, light, and the noise of its mechanical parts. Breathing is the best way to interact with the creature.”

See Nobrega’s website.


Plant (iPod), 2008
Eight potted plants with sound systems embedded in the pots respond to the movements of gallery visitors. When visitors are present, “the sounds of the closest plants drift in and out of stories told in multiple languages.” Because the sounds are soft, visitors crouch down and lean into the plants to hear the stories. When no visitors are present, the pots emit the sound of humans breathing.1

1 Translife: International Triennial of New Media Art, Fan Di’an and Zhang Ga, Eds., Liverpool University Press, 2013, p. 255.