Disarming Violence–extra credit blog post


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What do you get when you transform an object that strikes fear and emotion in people into an object that strikes interest and appreciation? You get Pedro Reyes’ “disarm” collection of instruments made entirely of gun and gun parts.  Amazingly his pieces can actually be played and used.  Reyes and his team acquired confiscated disarmed weapons from police around Mexico City and other cities where the drug cartel are numerous.  According to Reyes, their mission is to “transform negative instincts into creative instincts” by transforming guns into musical instruments.

This movement started by Reyes really struck me because I found it interesting that with all of the violence and destruction in Mexico today, Reyes was able to turn a terrifying and powerful weapon into something harmless and productive.  Not only is it a great idea, but I also think it can act as a good message for youth that although guns have some benefits, their use does not always need to be used to destruct but to create. “That could have taken your life or mine, it is better as an instrument.” A material that is normally used for harm can be made into something with charm, which is proven by Reyes and his disarm movement.

Not only does Reyes have a team, but he also has a workshop and studio where he and a large group work on perfecting the sound of the weapons with technological innovations.  They also spend a lot of time searching for places where weapons are being destroyed so they can buy them and put them to better use than the dump. Another project the team did was “Shovels For Guns” which took 1,527 guns and turned them into the same number of shovels.  All of the shovels were hung up on a wall on display to show the transformation of “destruction” to “construction”. This idea lies behind the same morals of getting rid of violence and danger and turning it into something positive and worthwhile.

Something they should do is make instruments for children and has them relay the message through schools by playing them. Reyes’ team has a great thing going and should continue to be advocates for peace and art.  I hope to see them on some tv special someday saying how successful their mission has been over the years and how many kids they have brought away from violence and into creativity.

  • Do you think it’s a good idea to bring this into schools?
  • What other ways could they advocate peace with art?
  • Do you think its ok to reuse weapons for this sort of cause?

Jack Rea



One thought on “Disarming Violence–extra credit blog post

  1. I have spent the past few weeks in Texas, just over the border from Mexico. There, gun violence is an everyday topic. This is a result of both the very violent and active drug business that goes on there, and the fact that Texans have a gun tradition stronger than in many other parts of the country. Guns are a polarizing issue; you are for or against restrictions on guns, and there seldom is a gray area. In Texas, this type of art displayed in a school would trigger (pun intended) loud debate. Where do we draw the line? I am in favor of people being allowed to carry a gun, but I am absolutely against gun violence. I believe we should display this type of art in schools and let students and their parents decide whether they want to view it. If we start banning this type of art, what’s next?

    Advocating peace with art is thought provoking. In class we viewed several examples of documented wars and violence via paintings. Francisco de Goya Executions of the Third of May, comes quickly to mind. An opposite view of violence is a fantastic idea. I started to think about Yoko Ono, having remembered that she and John Lennon embarked on their own ‘bed in’ for peace. It is an interesting link:


    And as a recycling fanatic, I’m all for reuse of existing materials. That the guns went from destruction to construction: genius!

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