What would you do if someone gave you a cache of 6,700 weapons? Pedro Reyes, an artist based in Mexico City, cut them up and recombined them to create an orchestra of 50 working musical instruments for a work called Imagine.
The guns had been seized by police from Mexico's drug cartels, and had been rendered useless in a public destruction event held in Ciudad Juarez, a city with a tragic record of gun violence. Says Reyes:
A group of 6 musicians worked for 2 weeks shoulder-to-shoulder turning these agents of death into instruments of life. The task was challenging but they succeeded in extracting sounds, from percussion to wind and string. 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.
Reyes then went on to create a set of eight fully mechanized instruments for a follow-up work called Disarm, now on display in London: