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Morehshin Allahyari: Preserving History in Time of Conflict

Born and raised in Iran, Morehshin Allahyari is a new-media artist and activist who has lived in the United States since 2007. Her work, which uses 3D scanners and printers as tools to investigate and re-appropriate tradition, narrative and objectification, has received recent and widespread worldwide attention.

From Plastic Entanglements, 2018
Here, Allahyari used 3D printing to recreate artifacts very visibly destroyed by ISIS at Mosul during recent fighting. She goes one step further, literally embedding each sculpture’s history within the miniature recreations via flash drive.

Copies Allahyari’s work were printed at the Maker Commons for a visit to University Park and originals were displayed during the Palmer Museum of Art’s Plastic Entanglements exhibition in 2018.

Curious about 3D scanning?

Media Commons has recently acquired an Artec Eva scanner used in this Get Inspired article. We’re in the testing phase presently, but will be offering scanning services and programming in the near future. If you’re interested in knowing more, drop us a line at mediacommons@psu.edu.

Assignment Idea: “What would you preserve?”


Think about an artifact from your own life – past or present – that you consider worth preserving to tell your own story. What makes it special? If it were to be lost, what would you want others to know about it? Are there supporting materials that would help explain its context in the world and/or in your own story?

This assignment can either be an exercise in information gathering and storytelling or culminate in a completed 3D model and 3D print depending on course goals and time constraints.

Subject Areas

Communications, English, First Year Seminar, Foreign Language


  • identification of object + description
  • 3D scan of object (optional) or
  • 3D model of similar object (optional)
  • One Button Studio recorded explanation
  • supporting materials (photos, PDFs, etc)