Metropolis II

This is a beautifully made short film about a kinetic sculpture by Chris Burden that took four years to build. It was filmed in his studio prior to being installed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where it opened last Saturday. It’s a wonderfully choreographed vision of modern city travel.

As a boy I loved toy cars. My toy-box was pretty much filled with just Dinky toys and Lego bricks. I would build elaborate roadways all over the carpet, getting under the feet of anyone in the room. So I graduated to the street where I would scratch out drawings of roads and houses directly onto the pavement, using a sharp stone since chalk would just be washed away. Outside there were no restrictions and some of these drawings would stretch for half a mile, giving me scuffed knees but endless journeys for the little cars. Considering all the pleasure they had given me, I was a surprisingly late starter when it came to the full-size versions, and didn’t learn to drive until I was fifty. Now I love driving but it would have been good to experience it when the roads were less crowded.

This sculpture is a portrait of Los Angeles, but really its procession of traffic could be any modern city. You can read more about it at LACMA’s nicely titled blog – Unframed.

Frames of reference

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