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One Big Eye

One Big Eye, 2024

16mm film transferred to HD, sound, 22:00

Made In collaboration with Benny Shaffer

One Big Eye is a hand-processed 16mm film shot at Pando, an ancient grove of aspen trees that extends across 106 acres in south-central Utah. Seemingly 47,000 individual trees, it is unified by a single immense root system, making it a ‘forest of one.’ Believed to be over 10,000 years old, Pando is the largest and heaviest known organism on land. Weaving scientific, folkloric, and mystical ways of relating to Pando, the film presents research, histories, and legends associated with the forest in the form of a parable. 

 

The footage was processed at home over the kitchen sink over nine months using an experimental coffee-based developer, which includes other non-toxic, everyday domestic materials such as washing soda, vitamin C powder, and salt. Processing several minutes of footage requires many hours. It becomes a ritualistic, devotional practice, an exercise in sustained patience and concentration. This intentionally slow, tactile, and meditative approach counters the efficiency and predictability of industrial film processing and embraces uncertainty, surprise, and revelation— an integral part of the conceptual framework for the film and its collaborative nature. We see this materially focused film practice as an opportunity to rethink ecological relationships between us and a more-than-human world. 

Credits: 

Sound Design and Mixing: Jessica Fuquay

Film Digitization: Nicki Coyle, The Negative Space

Recording Engineers: Riccardo Schulz and Victor Norton, Vlahakis Recording Studio, Carnegie Mellon School of Music

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Related public programming:

A Quaking Song: One Big Eye Expanded, STUDIO for Creative Inquiry

Produced by Sobia Ahmad, Jessica Fuquay, and Benny Shaffer, this expanded cinema experience featured a projection of the hand-processed 16mm film One Big Eye with an experimental live score and storytelling performance. 

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Above: A Quaking Song at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, April 7, 2024

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This project was made possible with the generous support of the Frank-Ratchye Further Fund and The Sylvia and David Steiner Film Fund of Carnegie Mellon University.

 

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