Monday, December 29, 2014

Chris Burden Metropolis II at LACMA

(Metropolis II)

the highest function of art in democracy
is to keep potential dictators out of the candidate pool
by offering them a much less socially costly
illusion of immortality.
- Mark Leidner

Burden’s sculptures express stupid power, mimed and caricaturized from the world's existing forms, brutal and dumb, big and deaf.
At 11:30 a.m. on a Saturday the children sitting patient with the machine begin along with it to whirr and squeal, running in the same circles as it. They could not be more enamored with seeing their playthings scaled to the epic one of money’s fuel. Their unsublimated desires erected by the ordering principles of capital, having not yet even known this was their desire.
And As a caricature the sculpture feels apt. The inexplicable pointless whizzing of thousands of cars mocks the outrageous scale of Los Angeles’s travel system's own competing with the Great Wall in sheer determination as solution. Inelegant.
For Burden the question of, “How did our world end up like this?” is posited as the product of thousands of megalomaniac children grown never learning their childhood fantasies of the world need not be enforced upon it. That the train barons and real estate developers creating and having created the world may have less to do with money and more with the latent remains of childhood fevers. The rest are left in the lumbering audience’s stands that surround it which brutally ask viewers to bear witness to it, grandstanding their viewership of the world as constructed. The children run giddy.