2013, b&w/color/sound, total running time: 8 mins 39 secs, single channel HD video
Metropolis is an abridged narrative history of the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. It uses stop-motion video animation to physically manipulate aerial still images of the city (both real and fictional), creating a landscape in constant motion. Starting around 1755 on a Native American trading path, the viewer is presented with the building of the first house in Charlotte. From there, we see the town develop through the historic dismissal of the English, to the prosperity made by the discovery of gold and the subsequent roots of constructing the multitude of churches that the city is famous for. As the landscape turns white with cotton, the modern city is ‘born’— with a more detailed recreation of its more recent economic boom and architectural transformation.
Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in America, due primarily to the influx of the banking community, creating unusually fast architectural and population expansion. This new downtown metropolis is therefore subject to the whim of the market and interest of the corporations who choose to do business there. Made entirely from images printed on paper, the animation represents a sped-up urban planner's dream, but suggests the frailty of that dream, however stable it may seem. Ultimately, the video continues the city development into an imagined hubristic future of excessive skyscrapers and sports arenas, concluding with a bleak environmental future. It is an extreme representation of the water shortage many expanding American cities face today; however, this is less a warning than a statement of our paper-thin significance, no matter how many monuments of steel, glass and concrete we build.