Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Twelve Hundred Toy Cars

Metropolis II by Chris Burden

You can always count of Chris Burden to come up with an interesting concept and a distinct manner in which to express it. His newest work, Metropolis II, which goes on display at LACMA on January 14, is part kinetic sculpture and part performance piece.

Essentially, it is a huge toy car track set within a toy cityscape, wherein the buildings are made of Lego pieces, wooden blocks, and assorted other play pieces. Likewise, there are toy trains that run throughout the setting. Being quite familiar with the efforts involved in designing toy environments, I totally believe reports that it took over four years to construct. It is a massive and complex effort.

There are eighteen railroads in this design. There are twelve hundred custom-built toy cars. Over the course of an hour, one hundred thousand cars make their way over the course of Metropolis II's roadways.

Metropolis II by Chris Burden with cars in motion

It is an awesome sight to behold.

Here are a few more photos, which I took during a preview performance of the work. Woo hoo!!!

Metropolis II by Chris Burden

Metropolis II by Chris Burden

Metropolis II by Chris Burden, view of the activation panels

And here are a few vids:



  1. Was that the nearest you could get at that time? Well, it seems his hardships over four years have finally borne fruit. I bet this would be included in the Guinness Book of World Records.

  2. I could have gotten closer, but I'd have had to jostle people out of the way. For most of the preview showing, I was up on the catwalk overlooking the display, which I felt was the best way to appreciate the overall design.

    Yeah, I can't imagine somebody building a more extensive toy car track. It's gotta be a record holder. :-)