By LOUISE BOYLE
Dystopian vision: Metropolis II took sculptor Chris Burden four years to build at his studio in California and is on show to the public at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from January 14
The 1927 science-fiction film Metropolis is an expressionistic portrayal of a dystopian, capitalist society which has become a cult classic among movie lovers.
Artist Chris Burden used the film by German director Fritz Lang as the inspiration for his racetrack sculpture and spent four years building Metropolis II.
The model city features 1,100 toy cars zipping around a track through miniature skyscrapers, at speeds of up to 230mph. The kinetic sculpture is set to open to the public at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California on January 14.
The grid is made up of steel beams and has 18 roads, including one six-lane freeway and train tracks. The speed of the tiny vehicles, which were custom-made, means that more than 100,000 cars pass through the system in an hour. The cars are pulled up the conveyor belts by magnets and then roll down the other sides.
Intricate design: Crowds gather at a preview of Metropolis II - based on the cult film from 1927 - at the gallery in Los Angeles
Sculptor Chris Burden told ABC: 'They can crash, they can fly off the track, they can bump into each other.'
The buildings, many similar to the Art Deco style of the original film, were made from blocks of wood and glass. Some particularly detailed models took five months to make. The installation was not intended to be an exact replica of the original film but a comment on life in the urban sprawl.
According to the artist: 'The noise, the continuous flow of the trains and the speeding toy cars, produces in the viewer the stress of living in a dynamic, active and bustling 21st-century city.'
Futuristic: The sculptor Chris Burden, who is based in Topanga Canyon, California, has more than 1,100 moving toy cars in his installation that travel at speeds of up to 230mph
When the silent film was released in 1927, it was more than two and a half hours long. It tells the story of the futuristic city of Metropolis where society is divided into two classes - managers, who live in luxury skyscrapers and workers who spend their lives underground.
The two worlds collide when the son of a manager falls in love with a worker girl, leading to an implosion of the status quo.
Metropolis was panned by critics, including the author H.G. Wells, when it was first released. It was cut substantially and a great deal of the original footage lost. A restored version was screened during the Berlin Film Festival in 2010 where it came to be considered a masterpiece.
Cult following: Metropolis was directed by German director Fritz Lang in 1927 and has been noted by film fans for its expressionistic shots of a dystopian world
Chris Burden, 65, is an artist originally from Boston, who creates performance, sculpture and installation art at his studio in Topanga, California. Many of his pieces focus around the automobile and technology.
One of his most controversial works was created in 1974 and saw the artist lie face up on a Volkswagen Beetle with nails hammered through his hands as if he had been crucified on the car.
Terror: Shots from Fritz Lang's futuristic film Metropolis where buildings tower above sprawling freeway as workers toil underground in a nightmare vision of capitalism which gradually descends into madness
Workers unite: Hoards are sacrificed to the capitalist machine in the 1927 film by German director Fritz Lang - although it was panned when it first came out