Metropolis II

Posted by on February 19, 2012

Last week I headed over to LACMA to see Metropolis II.

It is always interesting to see something in person that I have already seen in photos. There were several surprises:

I had heard that the instillation was a model of Los Angeles. It is not. Rather, it is an idealized city built from all kinds of recognizable materials, including Linkin Logs, wooden blocks, and glass tile. The bottom “layer” of the city features trains running on tracks as well as a few trolly cars. This is an interesting choice, as we hardly ever see trains anymore, but they are still there running under the city, moving freight. Photos of the work, including my photos, make it seem that the buildings and track are so densely packed in that the work is basically a solid block. On the contrary, I was surprised at how much air there is around the buildings and track.

It is also quite loud. The operator standing in the center wears ear protection. When I am out in the early morning, it is always amazing how clearly I can hear the distant traffic noise. The absence of other sound makes me realize just how loud the ambient traffic noise is in the city. In the same way, the little scale model cars don’t seem like they would be that noisy, but when you get a few thousand of them together the sound is incredibly loud.

I loved the balcony that was built to allow visitors to view the work from above.

Metropolis II is the work of Chris Burden and is on display at LACMA.

I found this video of Chris Burden talking about the work before it was installed in the museum.

All images are mine.

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