This Artist Fights ISIS with 3D-Printing in Virtual Reality

Moreshin Allahyari's latest exhibit takes place in a fully interactive digital art gallery.

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Jan 9 2016, 1:00pm

All images courtesy of Browntourage

Iranian new media artist Morehshin Allahyari has long been fascinated by 3D printing. "There was this video, I think actually at The Creators Project, showing an object being printed. I was so fascinated by that, just the gesture, the very fact that I could own a machine in my studio that could bring a digital life to physical form,” she told us last year in an interview. She was talking about creating the 3D Additivist Manifesto, her multimedia project with Daniel Rourke. "When I first started to work on a project that used 3D printers, I really loved that I could think about these machines as tools for documentation and archiving. But to look at the larger picture, especially in the art world, I don’t think that 3D printers have been pushed to certain limits yet."

And even since finishing the manifesto, Allahyari has continued to push those limits. This time she's teamed up with Browntourage, a media agency founded by Hawa Arsala and Tonia Beglari to promote diversity in media representation. "Initially we started a Tumblr posting original content, photos, critiques, and mini-interviews," Arsala tells The Creators Project, "Then we grew to build our own gallery for collaborations and our new media magazine site."  Together, Allahyari and Browntourage present PRINT your REALITY, a virtual reality exhibit of her 3D prints. In your web browser, you can use your touchpad or arrow keys to scroll backwards and forwards through the exhibit and interact with the works—moving some around the digital space, turning others to view them from different angles. On one side of the display is a video of Allahyari, and by clicking question mark cubes that float in the digital space you’re exploring, you pose questions to to the artist and watch video interviews with her answering them.  The entire effect is something along the lines of going on a gallery tour led by the artist whose work is being displayed.

"After seeing Morehshin's work in a tech context in San Francisco, we thought we had to let our people know how rad you can get as an artist and with 3D printing specifically," says Beglari. "With PRINT your REALITY, we wanted people who may not already be farmiliar with Morehshin or the terrain of 3D printing to be visually enticed by interacting with a literal terrain of 3D models and additivist imagery as a means of accessible introduction." In addition to the 3D Addivist Manifesto, two other exhibits by Allahyari are displayed. Both are timely and expressly political, dealing with the contemporary political scene in the Middle East. The works in Dark Matter are 3D-printed combinations of things that have been banned by Iran’s totalitarian government—a Barbie crossed with handguns, a dog fused with a satellite dish. Material Speculation features 3D reconstructions of artifacts destroyed by ISIS. "I see it as an art piece itself that offers a unique experience with almost VIP access to the 3D models in a way you couldn't get in a formal gallery or static video setting," says Beglari.

To learn more about Morehshin Allahyari's work, click here

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