Pedro Reyes – Weapons into Instruments

Weapons into instruments – Pedro Reyes

A couple of weeks ago I found a link on Buzzfeed to the work of Pedro Reyes.  His work fits perfectly into the recent theme of this blog – the link between making music and technology/machines.

What is Reyes’ work?  He takes guns collected by the police in Mexico and makes them into musical instruments.

“Disarm [the title of his project] is born of a profound and sincere desire to address the well-documented violence in his homeland. Its origins lie in a project for the contemporary art programme at the botanical gardens in Culiacán, western Mexico — a “very violent” city, Reyes says. The gardens’ art projects are sponsored by Augustín Coppel, a local businessman who made his fortune from electronic goods. Reyes came up with the idea to ask local people to donate weapons in exchange for household appliances….

“Music seemed an ideal way to get his message across. “We have to find ways to remove weapons from circulation and build trust,” he says. “Music is a universal language that does that in an effortless way. In the end, a gun is an instrument to make someone surrender to your will or die, and music is exactly the opposite — it’s seductive and invitational.” (

Here are some images of his creations:




Here is the Buzzfeed link I referred to above:

At the bottom of the link is a video of various musicians playing some of his instruments.

And here is a link to several photos of his creations, and a video of Reyes discussing his work:

In this video, the instruments are triggered by a computer, much like Pat Metheny’s Orchestrion discussed a few weeks ago on this blog. But in this video you are watching and hearing guns being used to create music:

As Reyes notes,

“’It’s important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons, as if a sort of exorcism was taking place. When they were played, he said, ‘the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for lives lost.’” (

You can read more about Reyes, and see a different video of the instruments here:

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