Oct 30, 2015 | By Kira
Iranian-born artist Morehshin Allahyari has received a special award at the 10th Florence Biennale for her 3D modeling and 3D printing project Material Speculation: ISIS (work in progress). For the series, Allahyari focuses on reconstructing ancient statues and artifacts that were destroyed by ISIS. According to the artist, the project creates a practical and political possibility for artifact archival, while also using 3D printing technology as a tool for resistance, and for repairing history and memory.
In March 2015, ISIS militants attacked and destroyed the Mosul Museum, Iraq’s second-largest museum and home to relics from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hatra, as well as artifacts from Nineveh. Cultural treasures, including a 7th century winged bull that once stood at the gate to Nineveh, were pounded with sledgehammers, and the incident, along with several other attacks on world heritage sites and museums, sparked outrage across the world.
To do her part not only in documenting and preserving these cultural artifacts for future generations, but in standing up to this reckless violence and oppression, Allahyari began the 3D modeling and 3D printing Material Speculation project to “inspect petropolitical and poetic relationships between 3D printing, plastic, oil, technocapitalism and Jihad.” The 3D models she constructed consist of selected artifacts from the Roman period city and Hatra and Assyrian artifacts from Nineveh.
3D printed model of King Uthal
3D printed model of Lamassu
Going beyond metaphoric gestures, Allahyari incorporated a flash drive and memory card inside the body of each 3D printed statue. The information on the flash drives includes images, maps, PDF files and videos gathered by archeologists, historians and museum staff on the artifacts and sites that were destroyed. “Like Time Capsules, each object is sealed and kept for future civilizations (with instructions on how to open the artifacts to access the memory drives without destroying the objects themselves),” she wrote. As the project progresses, she intends to make the 3D printable files available online, to be downloaded and used by the public.
The SD card can be removed without damaging the 3D printed model, and reveals images and information about the original artifact and destoyed site
Morehshin Allahyari is a new media artist, art activist, educator and curator, currently working as a lecturer at San Jose State University, and as Co-Founder and Assistant Curator in Research tat the Experimental Research Lab Pier9/Autodesk. Born and raised in Iran, she moved to the U.S. in 2007. Her work deals extensively with “the political, social and cultural contradictions we face”, using technology as a “poetic tool to document the personal and collective lives we live, and our struggles as humans in the 21st century”. Her exhibition and special award at the 10th Florence Biennale is one of many national and international exhibitions, festivals, and workshops she has participated in.
Morehshin Allahyari accepting the Special Award at the Xth Florence Biennale
The Material Speculation: ISIS work in progress is one of the most powerful and important examples we have seen of cultural and historical preservation made possible through 3D printing technology. The project is a symbolic gesture to promote awareness, memory and collective strategies of cultural and political resistance, while keeping historical memory alive.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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