Mexican Artist Makes Instruments Out of Weapons

guitar gun

People make all kinds of art for all kinds of reasons, but generally, it’s to either tell a story or send a message (or both). When Pedro Reyes of Mexico City was given 6,700 decommissioned weapons by the Mexican police, he decided to send a message.

In 2008, Reyes had organized a voluntary weapons donation, Palas por Pistolas– shovels for guns- which received 1,527 firearms that were melted into 1,527 shovels. Those shovels were then used to plant 1,527 trees.

In 2012, the Mexican government, who had heard about his first project, offered Reyes the remnants of a public destruction of weapons that would have otherwise just been discarded. The weapons were collected and destroyed from drug cartels in Juarez City and given to Reyes as scrap metal, but this time he decided to do something different.

The first series to come out of his gift was called Imagine. “Funded by Alumnos47 and curated by Jessica Berlanga, a group of six musicians worked for two weeks, shoulder-to-shoulder, turning these agents of death into instruments of life,” says Reyes. The first series produced 50 instruments.

gun flute

His latest series, called Disarm, consists of eight mechanical musical instruments that can all be operated via computer. With his projects, Reyes hopes to shed light on the firearm industry and the violence it perpetuates. He makes the distinction between visible and invisible violence, explaining that the rampant mass shootings and gun-deaths we see in the US and Mexico are the visible side. The invisible side is the gun-culture that feeds on and into the violence and the profits it produces.

“This is a large industry of death and suffering for which no cultural rejection is expressed. Guns continue to be depicted as something sexy, both in Hollywood and in video-games; there may be actors who won’t smoke on the screen, but there has not been one who would reject the role of a trigger-happy hero,” says Reyes.

You can read more about his project series and his motives on his blog.

Here is a video of his instruments in action.





Category: Inspiration