A Second Life is a stop-motion film experiment that expands upon the tradition of the altered book. Robin began with a misused edition of Honoré Balzac's A Marriage Settlement, published by Macmillan & Co. (1901). His original goal was to explore the possibilities of utilizing words and phrases from Balzac's narrative to make a significantly transformed version of the book. The result is a disjointed sequence of phrases that resembles an absurd benediction or prophesy.
The look of the film was inspired by traditions of surrealist film making, in particular the stop-motion films of Jan Švankmajer. Robin was especially influenced by works like A Game with Stones (1965), in which Švankmajer utilized found and antique objects, such as stones and clocks, to compose an abstract narrative based on patterns, textures and sound. In a similar way, Balzac's text was used as raw material: its damaged condition (water stains, tears, loose stitching) offered a range of dynamic visual elements to exploit. Furthermore, composing and adding layers of thematic music and sound helped to enrich and extend the visual movements and rhythms.
A Second Life is a hybrid creation on multiple levels: it is both a static art object and a linear time-based performance; a visual expose and a coded text; a reinterpretation and a decimation of original form and intent.