In 2010 an inconspicuous looking suitcase was sent from Berlin to Mexico City containing a 39-foot tall inflatable silver hammer. This was the beginning of El Martillo’s odyssey to protest the United Nations Climate Conference in Cancún. El Martillo was destroyed when protesters from the mexican civil rights group Marea Creciente tried storming the conference complex fences carrying the large inflatable hammer above their heads. In full view of the press, the Mexican police tore the sculpture to pieces. Within an hour the global media corporations started using El Martillo as a symbol of the protests at the climate summit.
The project was inspired by the quote “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it”, which is usually attributed to Bertolt Brecht but also to Marx and Mayakovski.