All images: Elizabeth Daniels via Curbed
Marinetti's baptism in the "catastrophic presentism of Futurism" by way of the automobile is well known. The sole controller at the heart of artist Chris Burden's "Metropolis II" appears to undergo a similar bodily transformation. When we wrote about the installation last August, we noted how Burden's massive endeavor was "brimming with giddy optimism, a heady kinetic sculpture celebrating the twilight of the car as symbol of freedom and release." Five years in the making, Burden's opus finally makes its debut tomorrow at the LACMA.
Over 1,100 specially-made toy cars speed down a chaotic network of overpasses woven throughout the miniature city's elaborate skyline--into which a scaled model of the Eiffel Tower, among all manner of caricatured towers, has been inserted, nested in a web of infrastructure. What Burden finds in the autonomous automobile's downfall is the triumph of new technological possibilities--chief among which is a fully automated system of rapid transport on the urban scale. Here, amid the perpetuum mobile, the artist's gleeful futurism is on full display, with the whir of cars in motion and the incessant cacophony of traffic resounding throughout the hall.