If you have a Y chromosome (or even if you don’t), chances are better than average you played with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars in your youth. Maybe you had a few hundred feet of track and dozens of cars, making you the envy of all your friends. Even the most ambitious of Hot Wheels tracks would pale in comparison to the layout created by Chris Burden as part of his “Metropolis II” art exhibit, which is intended to be a representation of road traffic in Los Angeles.
The setup utilizes some 1,200 custom designed cars in up to 18 lanes, which circulate at a rate of 100,000 cars per hour. Burden bills the exhibit as “quite intense”, and I can only imagine the sound of all those cars driving simultaneously. The exhibit also includes 13 toy trains and an assortment of buildings, constructed of wood blocks, Lincoln Logs, Legos and tiles. Metropolis II remains a work in progress, and a staff of eight assistants (including a structural engineer) have been working on the project since 2006. An earlier and far less ambitious work, entitled Metropolis I, featured 80 Hot Wheels cars circulating on two single lane tracks accompanied by monorail trains. Metropolis I was purchased by the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan.