“Created by artist Chris Burden, Metropolis II (2010) is a complex, large-scale kinetic sculpture modeled after a fast-paced modern city. The armature of the piece is constructed of steel beams, forming an eclectic grid interwoven with an elaborate system of eighteen roadways, including a six-lane freeway, train tracks, and hundreds of buildings. 1,100 miniature toy cars speed through the city at 240 scale miles per hour on the specially designed plastic roadways. Every hour, the equivalent of approximately 100,000 cars circulates through the sculpture. “The noise, the continuous flow of the trains, and the speeding toy cars, produces in the viewer the stress of living in a dynamic, active and bustling 21st Century city.”
Metropolis II is on long-term loan to LACMA and can be viewed on the first floor of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) and run on weekends.
- The cars are attached by a small magnet to the conveyor belt that brings them to the crest
- The only motorization of the cars is the conveyor belt to the top
- Once the cars cross over the crest and head downward, their entire movement is by gravity
- They travel at a scale speed of 240 mph, plus or minus
- The tracks they take are Teflon coated to reduce friction
- The tracks are beveled at 7 degrees to give added torque for speed when they come through corners and curves