The latest animated film from Trollbäck+Company visualizes different POV's on concepts of time and relativity -- from the ancient Buddhists to contemporary astrophysicists. Commissioned for "The Second Buddha: Master of Time," a new exhibition that opened on February 2nd at NYC's Rubin Museum of Art, the video is one of many interactive tools and technologies that enable visitors to discover hidden meanings in the the ancient paintings and sculptures on display for the year-long exhibition, which is based on tantric master Padmasambhava, who is known for bringing Buddhism to Tibet and is believed to have concealed treasure teachings for future discovery.
Trollbäck+Company's three-minute film is a conceptual visualization of the universal relevance of the Second Buddha's teachings, particularly the recurring themes of time depicted in many of the ancient paintings and sculptures on display for the exhibition. Led by creative director Brian Bowman, Trollbäck+Company achieved this narrative with a combination of motion graphics, music and sound.
In the film, we observe the portrait of Padmasambhava being drawn in macro detail. As the narrative unfolds, conversation on the nature of time from three points of view (the personal, the astrophysicist and the Buddhist) is heard off-screen. Each moment investigates a rich mixture of Buddhism, philosophy, and physics. We end on the portrait completing itself, the narrator at the precipice, contemplating open-ended questions on human capacity and perception.
According to Bowman, it was important for Trollbäck+Company to create a piece of original work that would aesthetically live in the same world as the artwork on display in the exhibition, rather than animated re-creations, which they partly achieved through choices in texture and muted, earthy tones. Bowman was also compelled to weave in his architectural view of the world and art, incorporating lines and grids to create a sense of space for the viewer to experience the concepts of time explored in the video.
"Theories of time and space are hard to conceptualize, especially when you consider the many lenses through which we try to process it through science and spirituality, as individuals or collectively," Bowman explained. "In putting that puzzle together, this exhibition transcends merely celebrating Tibetan art and philosophy, as it aims to put these cultural artifacts and teachings in a modern context to better our collective understanding of time and space, and consider Padmasambhava's alongside contemporary and Western-born views, from Einstein to Hawking."