Man Converts Car Into 'Weapon Of Mass Instruction'
March 13, 2015 #impact
By Kayla Dalsfoist

Those close to him have described Buenos Aires-based artist Raul Lemesoff as off-kilter, naughty, and enigmatic. One of his friends says that he's "one of those crazy great people needed in a society," and after seeing what he can do, we're inclined to agree. This offbeat artist's latest project is already making waves, one book at a time.

This undertaking, which Lemesoff has called Arma De Instruccion Masiva or Weapons of Mass Instruction, is an amazing example of channeling the power of  literacy and knowledge in a constructive way. He converted a 1979 Ford Falcon into a tank but rather than use bullets or bombs for ammunition, he armed it with 900 books on a wide variety of subjects. But rather than have this sculpture remain static, he drives this work of art around Buenos Aires, distributing free books to passersby, as long as they promise to read them. According to his website, Lemesoff's driving force behind this project is:

" contribute to peace and understanding of peoples to travel from distant places and different documenting the views and feelings of each community about their social problems, cultural, political, environmental and spreading in other communities...This also...leads to an interaction between communities and within them to facilitate their interaction, which increases their knowledge and mutual trust."

By increasing literacy within his community, especially among youth, Lemesoff is encouraging people to broaden their horizons and develop a sense of empathy for those around them. A better-informed public, he argues, will result in a more harmonious community. These books are intended to equip people with the tools to become better friends, better citizens, and better human beings.

This unique tank is currently still in circulation in Buenos Aires, but Lemesoff urges others to aid in expanding this project worldwide. With regards to future plans for his "weapon," he writes that,

"To achieve the large but not least challenging goal, we feel the need to encourage artists, institutions, groups of all types of every community, ADIM [Arma De Instruccion Masiva or Weapons of Mass Instruction] build a society in which they reside to play in each place a vector similar stimulation...Encouraging the creation of sculptures in every place will attempt to use local materials, and working methods of each location to achieve a work that reveals the combination of both cultures, which is bringing the ADIM and the place."

The potential for this sort of program to exist everywhere is colossal. While they may not all be 1979 Ford Falcons, each tank has the ability to encourage someone out there to read. As long as they contain books, the size or shape of these new iterations doesn't matter. It's also worth noting that Lemesoff emphasizes the importance of using local materials. Constructing a "weapon" from local materials reinforces the project's bond with its community while exposing readers to the rest of the world. 

Watch this incredible "weapon of mass instruction" come to life in the video below, and be sure to share your thoughts on this project with us in the comments section. Do you think your neighborhood would benefit from something like this?
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