Every week, Serbian sculptor Nikola Macura wanders through a messy military junkyard in search of sounds.
Picking up discarded guns, helmets, and missiles, he slaps, blows, and fists disused weapons to find parts he can bring back to his studio and turn them into musical instruments.
The 42-year-old is trying to turn these ancient tools of destruction into vessels of creation, in a region that still bears the scars of the wars of the 1990s that unraveled Yugoslavia.
He has already successfully transformed an army bazooka and gas bucket into a cello, created a guitar from a Zastava M70 rifle and Yugoslav army helmet, and assembled a violin from it. an assault rifle magazine and a first aid kit, among others.
“Weapons are all around us. We are surrounded by so much destruction that we no longer notice it,” said Macura, assistant professor at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad in northern Serbia.
There is a vast supply of material for work: since the wars, depots selling disused military equipment for pennies have become commonplace throughout the country.
These cemeteries are full of deactivated weapons, bombs and gas masks, as well as combat vehicles, radars and even huge pieces of warplanes.
The sculptor’s goal is to create a full orchestra that would travel and perform throughout the region, with war veterans as part of the musicians.
“I aim to offer those people who participated in the war a chance to use the weapons they used in the war to create music instead,” he said.
He has already recruited veteran and visual artist Srdjan Sarovic, who enjoys jamming on a guitar made from a rifle and a helmet.
“It disappears like a gun and becomes exclusively a musical instrument. When I hold it in my hands and play it, all I care about is how to line up with the instrument,” said he declared.
Macura’s next project is to transform an army tank into a percussion instrument for five musicians, which he plans to paint pink.
“Making an instrument from a tank? It’s the same as making an instrument from a gun. Impossible,” he laughed. – AFP