Pedro Reyes’ "Disarm" orchestra of handmade instruments isn't made from traditional materials; instead, each instrument is upcycled from contraband weaponry. Sourcing decommissioned weapons from the Mexican army and government, the artist has created a series of musical instruments in a partnership with Cocolab. The resulting orchestra is a fleet of self-playing mechanical instruments, making beautiful music out of weapons of destruction.
This isn’t the first time that Pedro Reyes has made music from former weapons. Reyes’ first collection, Imagine, involved transforming 6,700 guns seized by the Mexican government and transformed them into an array of beautifully crafted stringed instruments. For Disarm, the artist turned to digital and mechanical music for inspiration. Partnering with Mexican design firm Cocolab and several musicians for the project, the team designed eight mechanical musical instruments.
Each of the spindly instruments repurposes remnants of guns and weapons, collected in Mexico City. The pieces draw awareness to the gun control issue in Mexico, while also transforming elements of it into something positive-music that can be enjoyed by all.
The self-playing instruments are each linked to a computer, and they’re capable of being programmed to play songs, concerts and compositions, set up in advance. The resulting grouping is almost like a ghost orchestra when playing a song, each instrument seemingly playing itself. The absence of musicians pays an emotional tribute to those who have lost their lives due to gun violence in Mexico.