Artist Chris Burden built “Metropolis II”, a representation of road traffic in Los Angeles. It shows 1,200 toy cars moving along 18 lanes:
Two years ago he created a 65-foot Erector Set skyscraper that stood in Rockefeller Center, and in 2004 he made “Metropolis I,” composed of 80 Hot Wheels toy cars zooming around two single-lane highways along with monorail trains chugging on tracks of their own. The piece was snapped up by the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan.“I was happy with ‘Metropolis I,’ but it kind of disappeared once it went to western Japan,” Mr. Burden said in a telephone interview from his studio in Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles County. So in 2006 he and a team of eight studio assistants, including an engineer, began “Metropolis II,” a far more ambitious version. It includes 1,200 custom-designed cars and 18 lanes; 13 toy trains and tracks; and, dotting the landscape, buildings made of wood block, tiles, Legos and Lincoln Logs. The crew is still at work on the installation.
In “Metropolis II,” by his calculation, “every hour 100,000 cars circulate through the city,” Mr. Burden said. “It has an audio quality to it. When you have 1,200 cars circulating it mimics a real freeway. It’s quite intense.”