Rubin Museum of Art
Mapping The History of Empires
Animated Maps for Faith and Empire: Art and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism
To create an animated series of digital maps as a tool for visitors to orient themselves chronologically and geographically in an exhibition that spans five empires and 1,300 years of Buddhist history.
Graphic Design Video Animation
The Map achieved all the goals that we wanted for this tool, as we have had fantastic responses from our visitors about the animated map."
Maps attract viewers and elicit personal stories. They spark our imaginations while effectively communicating the necessary facts. Maps are also ways to mark change over time. The animated maps we created for the exhibition Faith and Empire at The Rubin Museum showed visitors the dramatic expansions and contractions of Buddhist kingdoms stretching, at one point, from the Pacific Ocean to Central Europe. They illuminated the dynamic historical intersection of politics, religion, and art in Tibetan Buddhism over 1300 years.
Each map animates the growth of one of the empires, includes an insert map showing viewers where the story of that empire is told in the exhibition, and illustrates a key object on display. As with any data visualization, maps require an iterative design process to arrive at just the right balance between the amount of information presented to the viewer and the time she needs to take it in and make sense of it, especially when the place names and the language are unfamiliar! Our designer, Carl Huebner, made it look easy.