Grimes and MSCHF both like to prod. Behind many of MSCHF's past initiatives has been a real poke-the-bear energy, not unlike Grimes' many wacky antics. Come for the collectibles, stay for the lessons on late capitalist consumer culture.
The MSCHF team described their latest project, Guns 2 Swords, as "one of [their] favorites," and it's got both Grimes' co-sign — she modeled one at the 2021 Met Gala — and the Highsnobiety seal of approval.
If you aren't an American, you may not understand this country's feverish fixation on guns. In the name of the second amendment in America's constitution — written in 1789, mind you, when "guns" meant muskets and not assault rifles — there's an endless tug of war to stem or hasten the flow of destructive firearms.
MSCHF knows that buyback programs work, but not as well as they ought to. Bigger and better incentives are necessary when encouraging gun owners to surrender their weapons.
Enter Guns 2 Swords.
"If Americans demand the right to bear arms, perhaps a cooler-looking and less destructive arm is our answer," the Guns 2 Swords manifesto explains. "Guns are only quasi-phallic, but swords go all the way. Let's remove some ambiguity."
"We propose that guns are a symbol that can be replaced by a different symbol without loss of satisfaction and at reduced threat to others. The 'Sword Guy' and the 'Gun Guy' both live in fantasy worlds. ... but the gun-toting wackos hold in their sweater hands aimless death for dozens. Fantasy lives in the mind — and ought to stay there."
Any guns sent in through the Guns 2 Swords program will be melted down and reforged into honest-to-goodness metal swords, leather-wrapped hilt, and all. The make and model of the source weapon are debossed on each sword's blade right above the guard for a personal touch.
These swords aren't especially sharp and they're not terribly strong, given that they're forged of whatever metals the guns were made of, so MSCHF describes the swords more as "sculptures" than combat-ready. A suitably sterile endstate for lethal weapons.
Guns 2 Swords is one of MSCHF's most ambitious efforts to date, boasting all the hallmarks of the collective's best work. It's a funny, well-executed concept underpinned by deadly seriousness: MSCHF is encouraging these adult LARPers to continue indulging in their macho fantasies with a weapon far more befitting of their imagined virility than a firearm.
Grimes demonstrated the blade's inherent versatility at The Met, wielding a chunky metal sidearm made of a melted-down AR-15. Her wild Iris Van Herpen get-up was the perfect counterpart, a fantasy outfit to match a fantasy weapon at an event rooted in pure spectacle. A gun could never.