Nurse Your Hangover With The Soothing Sounds Of 1,200 Toy Cars

11.26.10 8 years ago

We realize today that your fragile little minds are no doubt probably still echoing with the pounding vibrations of yesterday’s thankful cheeriness, so we figured what better medicine to nurse your hangover with than the hypnotic sounds of simulated traffic? Enter California-based artist Chris Burden, who wanted to construct the mother of all odes to the beast known as Los Angeles traffic. By heavily elaborating on two previous art installations he had created, Chris constructed a mock city out of an Erector Set and then filled it with 1,200 toy cars, all running on a continuous track.

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. [NYTimes]

Through Chris’ calculations, he estimates that around 100,000 cars circulate through the city every single hour -our chief number cruncher at Gammasquad believes Chris’ math is off by 2 toy vehicles, but whatever. When asked to describe the audio journey that accompanies listening to the sounds of his Erector Set city, Mr. Burden explains, “It has an audio quality to it. When you have 1,200 cars circulating it mimics a real freeway. It’s quite intense.” Quite intense indeed, Chris Burden, quite intense indeed. You want to know what else is intense? Shoving the rest of this turkey leg down my gullet. *electric guitar swell*

Special thanks to Neatorama for the tip.

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