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The Rubin Museum

The Second Buddha: Master of Time


Create a film that illustrates the historical relativity of temporal perception for The Second Buddha: Master of Time at The Rubin Museum.


Distill complex, esoteric concepts into an emotionally engaging journey that ignites viewers' curiosity about their own personal relationship to time.


The animated film uses abstract imagery to reveal hidden patterns and deeper meaning, on display within the exhibition and added to The Rubin Museum’s permanent collection.

The Rubin Museum Buddha Portrait
The Rubin Museum Still

Creative Concept

The Rubin Museum asked us to create an animated piece distilling the key message of the exhibition in a simple, organic style.

The Second Buddha: Master of Time was a year-long exhibit exploring the philosophies of Tibetan master Padmasambhava and his teachings that time is not absolute. The resulting three-minute film uses abstract lines and moving illustrations of folding paper, clocks, temporal funnels, cocoons, and unraveling strands of time to explain and visually explore the museum’s complex message.

The Rubin Museum Screen Portrait
The Rubin Museum Exhibit
The Rubin Museum People Talking

Experiential Strategy

Our experiential strategy was to create something that could easily embed within the flow of the exhibition while giving context and dimension to the experience.

The work we created was also designed for display among more than 40 artworks, sculptures, and immersive AR experiences within the exhibit. We utilized the Rubin’s Far East aesthetic as a starting point for our process, exploring the look and feel of traditional Tibetan color pigments, Asian watercolors, and ancient paper-making techniques.

Photographs by Asya Danilova, courtesy of The Rubin Museum of Art.

The Rubin Museum Buddha Face
The Rubin Museum Circle

Sound Design

We also conceived the film’s sonic landscape to fit within the exhibit space.

We cast three different voices for the piece — one explaining the common person’s experience of time, another explaining an astrophysicists understanding, and the last exploring the Buddhist perspective. Our sound design partners YouTooCanWoo created original music to match the different messages. The result was a contemplative, yet dynamic sonic landscape that changes and moves along with the viewer’s own perception of their place within space and time.


Graphic Design –– Illustration –– Animation –– CGI –– Editing –– Music Supervision –– Sound Design –– Post-Production

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