How To Turn 6,700 Weapons Into Musical Instruments

Mexican artist Pedro Reyes makes sweet music from lethal tools.

1. Glock-enspiel.

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

2. Gun guitar.

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

3. Bullet harp.

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

4. Oh, no big deal, just welding some gun parts for a jam sesh.

5. Gonna play “Wonderwall” on this murder-violin.

When police seized and destroyed some 6,700 weapons from drug cartels in Ciudad Juarez, they asked artist Pedro Reyes if he wanted to take the scrap metal. Keep in mind, Juarez only recently shook off its title as the world’s homicide capital. In 2008, Reyes had famously melted 1,527 guns, made shovels with them, and planted 1,527 trees in Mexico. For the next two week, Reyes would work with 6 musicians to transform these guns into musical instruments. The results, as you see and hear, are below.

Video available at: http://vimeo.com/51739769.

In the artist’s own words:

“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 … 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 videogames; 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.”

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