Metropolis: A Movie By Rob Carter


  • Rob Carter has designed a brilliant stop motion animation in which he compresses about 70 years of a city’s development into 3 minutes and 12 seconds. Within the time-lapse video he physically manipulates aerial still images of the city of Charlotte, North Carolina (both real and fictional). Arkinet explains that the video which is entirely made from images printed on paper, reflects on unlimited urban growth and  the passing of time. Doing so Carter has created an interesting critic on the pace and direction of current urban development which in most cases is more less the same.

    “Metropolis is a quirky and very 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 the building of the multitude of churches that the city is famous for. Now the landscape turns white with cotton, and the modern city is ‘born’, with a more detailed re-creation of the economic boom and surprising architectural transformation that has occurred in the past 20 years.”


    Using the title Metropolis, Carter gives us a sign that his animation is meant to be a critical response to Fritz Lang’s dystopian film (1926). Although I’m not sure if this is meant to be the point, you can definitely recognize the same kind of emotion in this animation — the city has become a machine, developing unstoppably in only one almost predefined direction. Considering the desert storm in the last part of the animation, it can be seen as a prediction for a bankrupt Dubai as well.