case study

Metropolis 2

11/07/11

Metropolis 2 is a Kinetic sculpture Created by Chris Burden

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Metropolis 2 is a Kinetic sculpture Created by Chris Burden

M2 took 3 1/2 years and a crew of 12 skilled craftsman/ artists(i was one of them!) to build .. it’s predecessor Metropolis 1 was built using hot wheels track(yeah the exact kind you played with as a kid) and modified hot wheels cars. It now lives in a museum in Japan. Metropolis 2 is much more technical, more like a giant watch than a toy.. there are 3 conveyors systems, each system has 6 lanes..(18 lanes total), 60ish cars in each lane(over 1200 cars!) each lane is approximately 65 feet, all running at a 5˚-8˚ slope.. the system runs much like a roller coaster.. where a roller coaster utilizes a cable and hook design to get the cars to the top of the track, we built a modified conveyor systems and cars utilizing rare earth magnets.. the magnets take the cars up the conveyor, once at the top the cars run purely on gravity to the bottom of the track, where they wait in a line up to return to the top of the track.. it takes 1 car approximately 30 seconds t o complete the run..

We worked with an engineer to redevelop the cars..a standard undercarriage was developed(to house the magnet), a rubber bumper system, heavier axles, 4 different body styles, and a whole slew of color options.. in the end Chris had 35,000 cars made to run on the system.. like any other vehicle these eventually wear out and need to be replaced.

Oh yeah.. there are also 13 separate HO train systems that run through the entire sculpture, weaving in and out of a city scape built with anything from ceramic tile, children’s building blocks, to Lincoln logs…

We are currently installing Metropolis 2 in LACMA.. it is scheduled for a winter opening…

Honestly.. it’s amazing to see run, if you are around LA come and see.. you won’t be disappointed-

There were a handful of short films that were shot recording this amazing piece of art..the film shot by these guys is the best..

Directed by Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Edited by Max Joseph
Cinemtography by Schulman, Joost & Van Neistat
Music by Tortoise (Ten-Day interval) & Mahogany (Windmill International A)