Pedro Reyes has a thing for guns. As in – he doesn’t like them. So, when the Mexican government asked him if he wanted to do ‘something with 6700 destroyed weapons’ he said yes, but there is a backstory to this.
In 2008 Reyes launched an art and community project called Palas por Pistolas. It started out as a voluntary collective campaign for weapons, in Culiacán, a city in western Mexico. The point of the program was to collect as many as possible of the illegal handguns and weapons in the city and turn them into something less destructive. Each weapon handed in, was awarded a voucher for a local business. In total, 1527 guns were collected in the campaign. Reyes then took these weapons and melted them down into shovelheads, which in return were used in the plantation of 1527 trees. This project is the reason why the government asked if Reyes wanted their destroyed guns.
This time with the collection of 6700 weapons, he felt that he could do something else.
So, what did he do with them instead? He turned the weapons into an orchestra, the metal bodies of the weapons, making up the framework of everything from flutes, to guitars, to violins. If you pardon the pun, a symphony of non-destruction, and at the same time bringing some beauty into what is nothing more than an instrument for killing and maiming.
By: Pedro Reyes
Commission and production: Alumnos47
Liquid Project Curator: Jessica Berlanga Taylor
Production coordination: Marcelo Garcia and Rangel Emiliano Valenzuela
Coordination and Musical Direction: Jazmin Zepeda
Musicians and instrument designers: Omar Córdova. Adrian Lopez. Alonso Lopez. Jose Mena Leika Mochan. Daniel Zepeda
Blacksmith artists: Antonio Garcia Salinas and Arturo Quiroz
Both the fabrication of the instruments and the recording of this performance was sponsored by Fundación Alumnos 47, Mexico City.