12/01/2012 07:53 GMT | Updated 13/03/2012 05:12 GMT

Chris Burden Installation 'Dystopian vision: Metropolis II' To Open In Los Angeles (PICTURES)

It's a classic piece of German expressionist cinema reimagined as a complex piece of installation art - or the best ski-electrics set ever, depending on your perspective.

Artist Chris Burden has built a model city based on Fritz Lang's classic 1927 film Metropolis that features over 1000 toys cars soaring through its metallic skyscrapers at speeds of up to 230mph. Rarely has a moody dystopia and a critique of capitalism been such fun.

Lang's science-fiction film explored the tension between company owners and their workers in a futuristic urban setting, and it's the films landscape that inspired Burden to build Dystopian vision: Metropolis II, his model city that includes 18 roads, a six-lane freeway and train tracks. The surrounding building were made out of wood and glass and some of individual pieces took more than four months to create.

The real draw though for visitors to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California - where the piece will be displayed from 14 January - are the custom-made cars which will fly past more than 100,000 times an hour.

Burden told ABC: "They can crash, they can fly off the track, they can bump into each other."

A renowned American artist who once appeared in a David Bowie song (Joe the Lion) and appeared in Norman Mailer's book The Faith of Graffiti, Burden has been responsible for a series of fascinating installations and art stunts over the past ten years.

In 2005 his piece Ghost Ship, a crewless, self-navigating yacht travelled 330 miles from Fair Isle, near Shetland to the docks of the Tyne in Newcastle.

Later in 2008 he built a sculpture out of 202 antique street lights that once lined Los Angeles and placed them outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Called Urban Lights, the piece is solar-powered and lights up the building and surrounding scenery at night.

Watch these videos of Dystopian vision: Metropolis II: