VIA2015: Lecture & Workshop // WHAT IS #ADDITIVISM? Critical Perspectives on 3D Printing with Morehshin Allahyari & Daniel Rourke


Artist Residency // Ongoing

Lecture // Thursday, Sept. 24, 5:00pm
Workshop // Friday, Sept. 25, 10:00am – 5:30pm
Location: The STUDIO, CMU CFA-111 (Map)

Part of the 2015 VIA Festival, ten days of adventurous music and new media art
September 24th through October 3rd
For more information:

The 3D Additivist Manifesto calls creators and thinkers to action around a technology filled with hope and promise: the 3D printer. By considering this technology as a potential force for good, bad, and otherwise, visiting artists Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke aim to disrupt binary thinking entirely, drawing together makers and thinkers invested in the idea of real, radical, change.

In March 2015 Allahyari and Rourke invited submissions to an open-source ‘Cookbook’ of radical ideas that cut across the arts, engineering, and sciences. Inspired, in part, by William Powell’s The Anarchist Cookbook (1969), The 3D Additivist Cookbook will contain speculative texts, templates, recipes and (im)practical designs for living in this most contradictory of times.

Artist Residency // Ongoing
Allahyari and Rourke will be in residence in the STUDIO editing their forthcoming 3D Additivist Cookbook of blueprints, designs, 3D print templates, and essays on the topics raised by the 3D Additivist Manifesto.

Artist Lecture // Thursday, September 24th, 5:00 p.m.
A talk and Q&A session by Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke about The 3D Additivist Manifesto + The 3D Additivist Cookbook in addition to the screening of The 3D Additivist Manifesto video. Artists will talk about their own research and practice in relationship to Additivism and 3D printing.

3D Additivist Workshop // Friday, September 25th 10am-6:00pm
What is #Additivism: A Collaborative Workshop
Investigate #Addivist ideas in your own work during a day-long workshop with the artists. Conceive, design, and prepare works for fabrication with potential for projects to be submitted to the Cookbook.

**Please see below for more information on this workshop and to sign up.**

This project is made possible through support from the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, the Carnegie Mellon University College of Fine Arts, the Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering, and CMU’s Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network (IDeATe).

Artist Bios 

Morehshin_Square_resizedMorehshin Allahyari (@morehshin) is a new media artist and art activist born and raised in Iran before moving to the United States in 2007. Morehshin just completed an artist residency at Pier9 Autodesk, where she is working on a series of digital fabrication and 3D printing projects called Material Speculation: ISIS focused on the reconstruction of artifacts destroyed by ISIS in 2015. She has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops around the world.


Rourke_croppedDaniel Rourke (@therourke) is a writer/artist/academic/etc. His research hijacks speculative and science fiction in search of a radical ‘outside’ to the human(ities), including extensive writing on the intersection between digital materiality and the arts. He is a feature and review writer for and, lecturer in Digital Media Arts at London South Bank University, and associate lecturer for the History of Art, Design and Film at Kingston University. Daniel will complete his PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London, in the Autumn. 


About the VIA Festival 

1377981_681892471821368_548197533_nVIA is a Pittsburgh-based platform dedicated to presenting emerging musicians and visual artists working across digital media. Each year the VIA Festival offers a thoughtfully curated series of events ranging from music showcases and a/v shows to exhibitions, film screenings, lectures, and workshops showcasing artists from home and around the world. Founded in 2010 by Co-Directors Lauren Goshinski and Quinn Leonowicz, VIA is a member of International Cities of Advanced Sound (ICAS), a global consortium of festivals and organizations supporting the creation and presentation of adventurous music and digital art. The ICAS family includes MUTEK, Unsound, Decibel, CTM Berlin, New Forms Society, Future Everything, The Bunker and many more. LEARN MORE

What is #Additivism: A Collaborative Workshop

Date: Friday, September 25th 10am-6:00pm
Location: The STUDIO, CMU CFA-111 (Map)
Click here to register for the workshop

10am-12.00pm: Discussion with artist and special guests
 Sneak peek at the 3D Additivist Cookbook submissions
Group design sessions
Group presentations 

Optional Roundtable // Saturday, September 26th, 12:00pm-3.00pm
Round table with CMU faculty and other VIA Festival participants. No pre-registration necessary.
Preparing for the workshop
Participants will receive a copy of the ‘Additivist Reader’: a few select passages from texts we consider integral to the project. Please make sure to register for the workshop here to receive the ‘Additivist Reader’ ahead of time.

Participants will need:

  • Laptop computer
  • MeshMixer (Available for free download here) + Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator
  • Pens, paper
  • Examples of their own work (3D models, or PDF blueprints, documentation, etc.)
If you would like to attend this workshop and are not able to obtain the specified items above, please contact STUDIO Associate Director Tom Hughes at

Workshop Description
Investigate #Addivist ideas in your own work during a day-long workshop with the artists. Conceive, design, and prepare works for fabrication with potential for projects to be submitted to the Cookbook.

The 3D printer is a profound metaphor for our times. A technology for channelling creative endeavour, through digital processes, into the layering of raw matter excavated from ancient geological eras. Considered as a tool for art, design and engineering, and gesturing towards a forthcoming era of synthetic chemistry and biological augmentation, 3D fabrication technologies are already a site of common exchange between disciplines and forms of materiality. 3D fabrication can be thought of as the critical framework of #Additivism: a movement that aims to disrupt material, social, computational, and metaphysical realities through provocation, collaboration, and ‘weird’ / science fictional thinking.

Participants will come together to expand on the working definition of #Additivism. A portmanteau of ‘additive manufacturing’ and ‘activism’, the foundations of additivism are knowingly ironic, playful, and contradictory. We invite you to unpack and critique The 3D Additivist Manifesto in search of new ways to leverage and activate the term.

  • What are the technical and political implications of additive manufacturing processes?
  • How does a focus on micro-scale design and production processes offer us new ways to conceive of macro-scale planetary crises, such as climate change and mass extinction?
  • How does the current rise of speculative design and bio-art impact the practical and political potential of technologically mediated materials (especially plastic and its relationship to capitalism, deep time, and the environment)?
  • What is the concept of ‘weirding’? Why/how have we employed it? Is it really possible to conceive of structures of knowledge outside or beyond the human, and for what ends?
  • Activism: what does it mean today? What possibilities remain for artistic and design practices to enact change in a world of commercial co-option, and political/critical cynicism?
  • What is Radical today? We will talk about the legacy of The Anarchist Cookbook, and consider the work of Donna Haraway and Reza Negarestani in all their fuzzy mythic and ironic implications.
Workshop Schedule

Discussing, re-defining, and exploring #Additivism beyond The 3D Additivist Manifesto and Cookbook with focus on the above questions and concepts. Participants will also introduce themselves and their work, i.e. ‘What is your particular interest in this topic?’

Focus will be given to defining three key focus areas for Additivist prototyping. These three areas will later be used to separate the workshop into three groups for brainstorming and design session. We will be discussing 3D technology and democratization of 3D printing, digital divide, the future of material, hardware, software, and access to 3D printers.

Break for lunch

Presenting a selection of Cookbook submissions and discussing how a positive socio-political position can be gained from controversial proposals (such as #Additivism).

Participants are separated in three key groups for brainstorming and speculative design session with support from Allahyari and Rourke.


Groups present what they have produced so far, with focus on group discussion and critical unpacking of the concepts they have devised. These very early-stage projects can be continued outside the workshop, for possible later submission to the cookbook.