Video: Burden’s “Metropolis II”

[This week on the show]( we aired a chat with renowned artist Chris Burden about his newest installation piece “Metropolis II” — a complex model city through which cycle 1,100 little cars, at a scale speed of 240 miles per hour. Sadly, when I conducted the interview at the artist’s Topanga Canyon studio last year, he was disassembling it so it could be shipped to its final home: The L.A. County Museum Of Art (a painstaking process that incidentally took about 6 months)… so I didn’t get to see the thing in action. This weekend, [LACMA finally unveiled the piece]( to the public, and it is indeed pretty cool to behold. Some video I shot:

As with many of Burden’s recent installations, it’s both charming and unsettling. All those little metal cars hurtling around the tracks make a serious racket (the “operator” standing in the center of the piece wears earplugs), and it definitely creates a sense of overwhelming speed: you find yourself trying to follow individual cars in their journey through the miniature city, and it’s just impossible for the eye to keep up. On the other hand, it’s telling to watch little kids encounter the thing: They are dazzled. Had LACMA opened this over the holiday gift-giving season, I bet L.A.-area Hot Wheels sales would’ve skyrocketed.