member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life

This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo

(Slideshow is of Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Disarm: A Miracle

"I believe that the purpose of art is to come up with ways to transform our most negative instincts into creative instincts."--Pedro Reyes

In 2008, artist Pedro Reyes implemented a project in the city of Culiacán (Mexico) by which he campaigned for voluntary donation of weapons, which could be exchanged for a coupon that local stores would honor for domestic appliances or electronics. He ended up collecting 1527 weapons, 40% of which were military, high-powered automatic weapons. The weapons were crushed, melted, and sent to a factory to create exactly 1527 shovels. The shovels were then distributed to schools and other institutions to be used for the planting of 1527 trees.

Through this project, he was exploring the transformation--alchemical, really--of an "agent of death" into an "agent of life." And then someone told him about a mass of weapons that had not been voluntarily given up, but rather taken in the raids and arrests of cartel members.

These weapons had been dismantled (made unusable) and were scheduled to be buried, but Reyes had in mind another alchemical project, instead. A massive project, a study of sound and technology as well as sculpture.

He says, "I'm taking this piece of metal, this pistol, which represents our instinct of killing each other, and I'm turning it into a (musical) instrument which is, ultimately, the most sophisticated form of communication on the planet."

On his own blog (here quoted from Colossal), Pedro Reyes says of the project that "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."

It occurs to me that as a musician, it would be amazing to have made your own instrument, a unique instrument for yourself, which is also a sculpture--not factory-made, not something you dumped a bunch of money on-- which would also serve as a talisman, really. What could have claimed your life, what promised only horror, now you have transformed, as if in a lucid dream, into a luminous voice that expresses an entirely different intention. The instrument itself represents evolution, and each time you picked it up, there would be a sense of reverence, a sense of possibility, and a sense of your own magical power.

Enjoy the video!

Mr. Reyes will be giving a talk on this project at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA on October 5, from 5-7 PM.
Via Colossal.


  1. Amazing video.
    Espero no encuentren nunca una bala perdida por sorpresa :).
    I love it because they mix technology and arts and creativity, so it is not imposible they are all together in the same room :))

    1. it is fantastic, may all weapons be turned into such incredible works of art :)

  2. I have always believed that the object is imprinted with the soul of the previous owners; we build stories over them. Imagine the song that comes from an object once used to kill; does it soothe the ghost within... beautiful metamorphosis.

    1. i love the idea that objects are imprinted. it makes sense to me, we are affected by them, they must be by us, right? ...actually, this idea gives me a lot to think about...

  3. instrument, objet d'art, sculpture... beau!!!