IK: What inspired you to 3D-print those works and embed the artifacts’ information in them?
MA: Over the last three years, I’ve been interested in thinking about 3D printers as poetic and practical tools for digital and physical archiving and documenting. In my “Dark Matter” series, I approached this more from a political and cultural standpoint, focusing on objects that are forbidden or unwelcome in Iran. With “Material Speculation: ISIS,” I wanted to continue the same line of thought, in addition to thinking about concepts related to the Middle East, oil, and jihad, and being inspired by Reza Negarestani’s Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials book.
In the last year I’ve also produced a project in collaboration with artist/writer Daniel Rourke, The 3D Additivist Manifesto. An important aspect of our manifesto is the notion of 3D printing as experimental, radical, and censored. How can we think about it as a tool for changing the biological, political, environmental, and social future of our lives? My project fits into some of the actions and ideas in our manifesto, but mostly the ones focused on political activism, rebuilding, and dissemination of information as resistance to power.
When I was in the middle of this research during my four-month artist residency at Pier 9, the video of ISIS destroying artifacts at Mosul Museum and other sites in Iraq went viral. Watching those videos was really upsetting, not from a nationalistic standpoint, but just the very act of destruction, violence, and wanting to ruin historical heritage as a political and religious message or as a display of power. This, for me, came with so many layers of personal relationships, and it made sense to integrate it into my research.