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3D Printing Takes On ISIS

We all know that 3d printing is changing the world. A compelling recent example of this is ‘Material Speculation: ISIS’ by Morehshin Allahyari, a 3d modeling and printing project exploring the reconstruction of original artifacts (statutes from the Roman period city of Hatra and Assyrian artifacts from Nineveh) that were destroyed by ISIS in 2015.

The project shows that 3d printing technology is not only an effective tool for documenting and archiving, but can also be a powerful way of repairing memories and history.

More than an accurate reconstruction of a lost artifact, each printed statute contains a flash drive and memory chip within its body that has been loaded with drawings, images, maps, pdfs and videos of the artifact and its site before they were both destroyed. This information was gathered by Allahyari herself with the help of archaeologists from Iraq and Iran, as well as staff from Mosul Museum. In this way, the printed recreations act as information time capsules, preserving memories and stories for future generations and civilizations.

The 3d files of these artifacts and the information contained within them can now be freely downloaded online. We’ve taken a look and they are truly incredible to explore.

Moreshin Allahyari is a new media artist, art activist, cultural curator born and raised in Iran. She is currently a lecturer at San Jose State University as well as the Co-founder and Assistant Curator in Research at the experimental research lab Pier9/Autodesk.