Metropolis II: Art, Toy, or Both?

by Mark R

Now that Thanksgiving is over, a lot of households are setting up a toy electric train track around a Christmas tree. Imagine if you had to set up something like this!

This is the Metropolis II installation by Chris Burden, which is a huge track made up of 1,200 Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars zipping around and around. I have a video of it after the jump, but I don’t see any of the toy trains.

I do see all the cars, which are put on some sort of weird conveyor with many twists and turns. You will note the two inclined planes in the middle that carries the cars slowly to the top like a roller coaster.

I would imagine that a whole lot of calculation had to happen in order to make this track. You will note that there doesn’t seem to be any accidents going on.

If you want to see the Metropolis II, it is currently on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I guess it could be considered art, and I see its message: modern life is nothing more than a series of fast-moving vehicles stuck in an infinite loop of traffic. Adults might appreciate that, but I think kids would just appreciate that it is a big toy.


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