Imagine: Guns Into Guitars

Imagine: Guns Into Guitars

by
Abby Zimet

magine is a set of 50 musical instruments fabricated out of destroyed weapons – revolvers, shot-guns, machine-guns, etc. This work is a progression of Palas por Pistolas (2008), where 1527 weapons were melted and made into the same number of shovels to plant 1527 trees. In April this year I got a call from the government who had learned about Palas por Pistolas, they told me a public destruction of weapons was to take place in Ciudad Juarez and asked me if I was interested in keeping the metal, which would otherwise have been buried as usual. I accepted the material but I wanted to do something new this time. 6700 weapons, cut into parts and rendered useless, were given to me and I set out to make them into instruments.

 

A group of 6 musicians worked for 2 weeks shoulder-to-shoulder turning these agents of death into instruments of life. The task was challenging but they succeeded in extracting sounds, from percussion to wind and string. It’s difficult to explain but the transformation was more than physical. It’s important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons; as if a sort of exorcism was taking place the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for lives lost.

 

This is also a call to action, since we cannot stop the violence only at the place where the weapons are being used, but also where they are made. There is a disparity between visible and invisible violence. The nearly 80,000 deaths by gun-shot that have occurred in Mexico in the last 6 years, or the school shootings in the US are the visible side of violence. The invisible side is that one of gun trade-shows, neglecting assault rifle bans, and shareholder profit from public companies. This is a large industry of death and suffering for which no cultural rejection is expressed.

- See more at: http://www.blog.pedroreyes.net/?cat=51#sthash.sBMcw6q7.dpuf

Because guns remain a big ugly factor in the state of our union, gun control groups have released a new video report and launched a campaign to ban gun sales from social media. Mexican artist Pedro Reyes, likewise alarmed by gun violence on both sides of the border, instead launched a performance peace: He melted down 6,700 seized weapons, crafted 50 instruments from them, and gathered a group of musicians to play (ghost of Lennon) an eerie Imagine.

pedro reyes: imagine - musical performance from designboom on Vimeo.

 

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