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The Kid Should See This

Behind the Scenes of a Kinetic Sculpture: Metropolis II by Chris Burden

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What does it take to keep Metropolis II by artist Chris Burden up and running at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art? Go behind the scenes of a kinetic sculpture with this 2019 LACMA video by Nandi Jordan.

The information-packed short features four technicians on the Metropolis II conservation team—Alison Walker, Rich Sandomeno, Lourdes Corugedo, and Ariel Mazariegos—who help keep the sculpture’s 1,100 custom-made cars, eight electric loop trains, and five electric trolleys in top condition:

The greatest challenge faced by Metropolis II’s conservation team is dust. Dust can add resistance to Metropolis II’s moving parts if it is left on the sculpture for too long. Conservators thoroughly clean dust off the sculpture weekly.

inspecting the trains

Similarly, the cars must be cleaned and inspected weekly. Conservators remove dirt and dust from all areas of the cars. Cars with loose wheels or magnets or that frequently fall off the structure are removed to be inspected and repaired.

Trains need lots of cleaning and repairs, too. Every week conservators clean the trains’ locomotives. A deeper clean of the trains rolling stock happens once a month. A deep clean involves cleaning the surface of the wheels, removing any lint from inside and oiling various parts of the train.

sculpture materials
The video also shares more about the LEGO, Lincoln Logs, Eames cards, and other materials that create this giant, bustling and buzzing sculpture.

cleaning the tracks
metropolis II
Watch this video next to see more: Metropolis II at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Plus, a few related toys, tracks, cars, and kinetic sculpture videos on TKSST:
• The Hot Wheels DecaLooper, a ten loop track
• Making Matchbox cars in 1960s London – British Pathé
• Why, Traffic, Why?
• Midday Traffic Time Collapsed and Reorganized by Color
• The biggest model railroad in the Northwest
• A fast-paced tour of Germany’s Miniatur Wunderland model train exhibit

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