A Quaking Song: One Big Eye Expanded

April 7, 2024 6:30 PM–8:00 PM

4919 Frew Street
College of Fine Art, Room 111
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh PA 15213

Sobia Ahmad, Beny Shaffer, Jessica Fuquay

Join us in the STUDIO on Sunday, April 7 from 6:30-8PM for

“A Quaking Song: One Big Eye Expanded.”

Produced by Sobia Ahmad, Jessica Fuquay, and Benny Shaffer, this expanded cinema experience will feature a projection of the hand-processed 16mm film One Big Eye with an experimental live score and storytelling performance. One Big Eye explores Pando, an ancient quaking aspen grove 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 the earth’s largest and heaviest known organism on land. Weaving scientific, folkloric, and mystical ways of relating to Pando, the project reflects on the underground network of roots to explore a shared ecology between humans and more-than-humans. Offering an immersive, sensorial engagement with Pando, this special event is organized in conjunction with the work currently on view in Second Degree Vision, the School of Art MFA exhibition at the Miller ICA.

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.


Left to right: Benny Shaffer, Sobia Ahmad; photo credit: Erin Mallea.


Sobia Ahmad:
Sobia Ahmad is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice explores the transcendental power of everyday experiences, objects, and rituals through photography, time-based media, and social practice. She draws on traditions of devotional poetry and oral storytelling associated with Sufism. Often made in domestic and social spaces, her process-based work engages in conversations about relationality and reciprocity, embodied knowledge, material experimentation, and DIY ethos. Ahmad’s work has been reviewed in Al-Jazeera and The Washington Post, and exhibited at the Johnson Museum of Art (Ithaca, NY) and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Women Filmmakers Festival (Washington, D.C.) among others. She is a receipt of The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Exposure Artist Grant (2024-2025).

Benny Shaffer:
Benny Shaffer is a filmmaker and curator whose projects explore the intersections of socially engaged art, media ecologies, and experimental cinema. He has curated film screenings at the Brattle Theatre, Harvard Film Archive, ICA Boston, UnionDocs, and other venues. He received his PhD in Social Anthropology and Critical Media Practice from Harvard University, where he was a Film Study Center fellow and a member of the Sensory Ethnography Lab. He is currently the co-director of Revolutions Per Minute Festival in Boston, and a board member of Pittsburgh Sound + Image.

Photo credit: Chris Uhern

Jessica Fuquay:
Jessica Fuquay is a Colombian-American multimedia artist, electronic musician, and DJ who received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. She makes videos, sound compositions, and performances that reflect on care, memory, and political history–– especially as these concerns relate to the formation of diasporic and queer communities. Fuquay’s practice as a sound artist draws extensively from personal and found archives of field recordings that she takes through lo-fi and hi-fi methods. She uses tools of improvisation and chance to transform her collected materials, applying stretching, looping, delay, and many other time-bending strategies.