Metropolis II: “Omnipotence, Too”

Written by

The GOOD4NOTHING CONNOISSEUR went to see Metropolis II when the art-piece was switched off, the cars and trains were still and the room was devoid of the constant whirr of…

The GOOD4NOTHING CONNOISSEUR went to see Metropolis II when the art-piece was switched off, the cars and trains were still and the room was devoid of the constant whirr of racing vehicles. The experience is different; one focuses on the visual, not the aural. He describes his impressions here:

Directly off the room that’s home to Richard Serra’s giant piece, “Band,”– a woozy ribbon of slithering tall towering, rust-colored weatherproof steel that lures and caresses you — past a large bank of TV sets that flick and flash alternating roiling permutations of the USA flag, called “Video Flag Z” by Nam June Paik, is the shining city on the hill of the future. . . but all in rock and roll steam punky miniature. This little magical marvel is Chris Burden’s latest, a new and shimmering full sensorial drench of an experience called “Metropolis II.” You won’t believe the spell this little mythic cityscape puts on you.

It’s a scale model right out of your brain’s faulty memory bank of your favorite urban flavored sci-fi flick. Yes, I thought fleetingly of Luc Bresson’s “The 5thElement,” Lang’s “Metropolis,” (right) “Blade Runner” LA, the planet Crematoria from “Chronicles of Riddick,” Alderan—but that all got eclipsed by the sudden overwhelming rush of consciousness that made me feel I’d shapeshifted into the all powerful, radioactive, fire belching Godzilla just out for an apocalyptic stroll to graze upon a dense oasis of miniature sky scrapers, ten-lane hot wheels traffic jams and snaking toy train sets all on super highways and train tracks swooping and cantilevering up and down and all around massively tall, bejeweled sky scrapers.

The site of it filled me with a child’s unquenchable appetite for play, fantasy and delusions of grandeur. I felt myself transforming, my muscles steroidally popping, expanding, flexing, my teeth lengthening and sharpening with galvanized titanium, all testosterone pumps kicking into overdrive, and the biggest, dumbest smile creasing my face like a madman gleefully uncaged. WARNING: Abandon Almost All Self Control Ye Who Enter Here – were the words that played on a loop in my head. I was set free… I wanted to trudge and stomp through it all, lift and heave and toss bridges and turrets and spires, mangle and munch my way to nuclear monster screeches of gleeful destruction, feasting and devastation. I lusted to bite a subway car in half and relish the passengers tumbling out like shredded taco lettuce. I felt like a punk rocker, or a punk rocker god, I wanted to fall into buildings and roll over mass transit tressels, plug in my electric guitar and feedback like a mad fool of zapmastery, then maybe leap up in the air propelled by Pete Townsendesque scissor kicks and float and hover above and through the city’s dense canopy of freeway ramps, train tracks and penthouses past the Eiffel Tower like simulation, the 100-turreted mosque, and then tread through the veritable kelp bed of office towers and mid-town 60-story hotels that felt like my home town of Manhattan.

The piece should be called, instead of Metropolis II, “Omnipotence, Too” because it makes you feel like a big hulking super creature with unlimited super powers at your fingertips. I set to lustfully photographing it, poking my camera past the stantions, and getting warned repeatedly by the security guards on duty. Sure, I turned into a punk rock Godzilla, but you might become, oh I insist, whatever your fancy dictates. Turn it loose now. And channel one of the floats in the Thanksgiving Day parade come to ominous life. Be a giant balloon Kermit the Frog or Snoopy or Bart Simpson. Are those too rude sounding, ok, then dial it down and be the Ghostbuster’s super happy, pacifist, though Navy seaman-attired Stay Puft Man, softly, dopily romping through Manhattan like a 5-yr-old in a bouncy castle. The choice is yours. You gotta try it, it’ll set you free, even if just for a precious few seconds. Thanks Dr. Chris Burden for the art as mood swinging pick me up.