El Martillo / The Hammer



Berlin – Mexico 2010

Social Sculpture & Intervention by Eclectic Electric Collective *1

Materials: insulation foil,ventilator, car batteries, tape, suitcase

Size: 1180 x 200 x 880 cm

Video of news footage, 01:34 min. Montage by ArtuÃÅr van Balen 2014

In 2010 Jakub Simcik and I organised a 10-day participatory workshop about art and activism. The aim was to create a collective object that would solidarise with the protest at the United Nation Climate Conference in CancuÃÅn, Mexico. Inspired by the quote
“We see art not as a mirror to hold up to reality but as a hammer with which to shape it.” the collective decided to make a 12 meter inflatable hammer of silver reflective foil. Folded in a suitcase, the hammer was sent from Berlin to Mexico City.

The Hammers short but glorious life climaxed when protesters from Marea Creciente (Rising Tide) stormed the confer- ence complex fences, holding the gigantic hammer above their heads. In full view of the press Mexican police tore the inflatable to pieces. Within an hour global media corporations declared El Martillo a symbol of the climate changes protests as its image traveled across the world.

The video shows a compilation of various international media footage. The same footage is used over and over again, but with small differences and mistakes. The footage gives an insight in the hyperreality of media. Looking at the footage, I realised that the life of the sculpture itself is an ironic comment on media spectacles: by inflating quickly to large proportions only to deflate and disappear again as if nothing had happened.

*1 The Eclectic Electric Collective was founded by Jakub Simcik and me. The group existed from 2008 until 2012 and now operates under the name Tools for Action 2012-.