Morehshin Allahyari (b. 1985 in Tehran, Iran) is a media artist, activist, educator, and curator who uses computer modeling, 3D scanning and digital fabrication techniques to explore the intersection of art and activism. Inspired by concepts of collective archiving, memory, and cultural contradiction, Allahyari’s 3D printed sculptures and videos challenge social and gender norms.
Her Material Speculation: ISIS series uses digital fabrication technology to reconstruct artifacts destroyed by ISIS in 2015, achieving wide acclaim for proposing 3D printing technology as a tool for resistance and documentation. In her earlier Dark Matter series, 3D printed sculptures form humorous, merged juxtapositions. Underlying the humor, however, is the reality of authoritarianism: the constituent elements (dog, dildo, gun, neck tie, satellite dish, etc.) are things censured by the Iranian government. She is developing a new body of work on digital colonialism and ‘re-figuring’ as a feminist and de-colonialist practice, titled She Who Sees the Unknown.
Recent accolades include an artist residency at Pioneer Works (2018), research residency at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center (2016-17), a sculpture award from the Institute of Digital Art (2016), and Foreign Policy Magazine named her a Leading Global Thinker of 2016. She was recently featured by History, in National Geographic’s Genius series, and was named a "must-see" artist at the 2018 Armory Show by The New York Times. Her work has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops throughout the world, at venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Centre Pompidou in Paris, France; Venice Biennale di Archittectura; Pori Museum, Finland and Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Germany. Allahyari received her MFA at the University of North Texas, MA at University of Denver and her BA at the University of Tehran, Iran. She is co-creator of the 3D Additivist Manifesto and subsequent 3D Additivist Cookbook.
Allahyari’s She Who Sees the Unknown: The Laughing Snake, a hypertext narrative co-commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, Liverpool Biennial and FACT Liverpool, is viewable via the Whitney Museum’s artport. This work, along with a new, related sculpture, was recently featured in Hyperallergic.