The 3D Additivism Manifesto
BY Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke
THEME LEADER James Bridle
SUPPORTED BY University of Melbourne, as part of the NGV Triennial – exploring the emerging intersections of art, design, science and society.
Morehshin Allahyari’s The Distributed Monument is accompanied by the The 3D Additivist Manifesto, a document published by Allahyari and writer and artist Daniel Rourke. The manifesto sets out the precepts of #Additivism, a movement that aims to disrupt material, social, computational, and metaphysical realities through provocation, collaboration, and ‘weird’ / science fictional thinking. At its heart, #Additivism posits the 3D printer as “a profound metaphor for our times”, “a technology for channeling creative endeavour, through digital processes, into the layering of raw matter excavated from ancient geological eras.” View The Distributed Monument
Derived from petrochemicals boiled into being from the black oil of a trillion ancient bacteria, the plastic used in 3D additive manufacturing is a metaphor before it has even been layered into shape. Its potential belies the complications of its history: that matter is the sum and prolongation of our ancestry; that creativity is brutal, sensual, rude, coarse and cruel.1 We declare that the world’s splendour has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of crap, kipple2 and detritus. A planet crystallised with great plastic tendrils, like serpents with pixelated breath3 … for a revolution that runs on disposable armaments, is more desirable than the contents of Edward Snowden’s briefcase; more breathtaking than the United Nations Legislative Series.
There is nothing that our infatuated race would desire to see more than the fertile union between a man and an Analytical Engine. Yet humankind are the antediluvian prototypes of a far vaster Creation.4 The whole of humankind can be understood as a biological medium, of which synthetic technology is but one modality. Thought and Life both have been thoroughly dispersed on the winds of information.5 Our power and intelligence do not belong specifically to us, but to all matter.6 Our technologies are the sex organs of material speculation. Any attempt to understand these occurrences is blocked by our own anthropomorphism.7 In order to proceed, therefore, one has to birth posthuman machines, a phantasmagoric and unrepresentable repertoire of actual re-embodiments of the most hybrid kinds.8
Additivism will be instrumental in accelerating the
emergence and encounter with The Radical Outside.9
Additivism can emancipate us.
Additivism will eradicate us.
We want to encourage, interfere and reverse-engineer the possibilities encoded into the censored, the invisible and the radical notion of the 3D printer itself. To endow the printer with the faculties of plastic: condensing imagination within material reality.10 The 3D print then becomes a symptom of a systemic malady. An aesthetics of exaptation,11 with the peculiar beauty to be found in reiteration; in making a mesh.12 This is where cruelty and creativity are reconciled – in the appropriation of all planetary matter to innovate on biological prototypes.13 From the purest thermoplastic, from the cleanest photopolymer, and shiniest sintered metals we propose to forge anarchy, revolt and distemper. Let us birth disarray from its digital chamber.
To mobilise this entanglement we propose a collective: one figured not only on the resolution of particular objects, but on the change those objects enable as instruments of revolution and systemic disintegration. Just as the printing press, radio, photocopier and modem were saturated with unintended affects, so we seek to express the potential encoded into every one of the 3D printer’s gears. Just as a glitch can un-resolve an image, so can it resolve something more posthuman: manifold systems biological, political, computational, material. We call for planetary pixelisation, using Additivist technologies to corrupt the material unconscious; a call that goes on forever by virtue of this initial movement.14 We call not for passive, dead technologies but rather for a gradual awakening of matter – the emergence, ultimately, of a new form of life.15
We call for:
The endless re-penning of Additivist Manifestos.
Artistic speculations on matter and its digital destiny.
Designs, blueprints and instructions for 3D printing:
Tools of industrial espionage
Tools for self-defence against armed assault
Tools to disguise
Tools to aid/disrupt surveillance
Tools to raze/rebuild
Objects beneficial in the promotion of protest, and unrest
Objects for sealing and detaining
Instruments of chastity and psychological derangement
Temporary Autonomous Drones.
Lab equipment used in the production of:
Photopolymers and thermoplastics
Technical methods for the copying and dissemination of:
All patented forms
The aura of individuals, corporations and governments.
Software for the encoding of messages inside 3D objects.
Methods for the decryption of messages hidden inside 3D objects.
Chemical ingredients for dissolving, or catalysing 3D objects.
Hacks/cracks/viruses for 3D print software:
To avoid DRM
To introduce errors, glitches and fissures into 3D prints.
Methods for the reclamation, and recycling of plastic:
Caught in oceanic gyres
Lying dormant in landfills, developing nations, or the bodies of children.
The enabling of biological and synthetic things to become each other’s prostheses, including:
Nervous system inserts
Lenticular neural tubing
Universal ports, interfaces and orifices.
Additivist and Deletionist methods for exapting18 androgynous bodies, including:
Interspecies sex organs.
Von Neumann probes and other cosmic contagions.
Methods for binding 3D prints and the machines that produced them in quantum entanglement.
Sacred items used during incantation and transcendence, including:
The private parts of Gods and Saints
The production of further mimetic forms, not limited to:
Those that from a long way off look like flies. 19
Life exists only in action. There is no innovation that has not an aggressive character. We implore you – radicals, revolutionaries, activists, Additivists – to distil your distemper into texts, templates, blueprints, glitches, forms, algorithms and components. Creation must be a violent assault on the forces of matter, to extrude its shape and extract its raw potential. Having spilled from fissures fracked in Earth’s deepest wells, The Beyond now begs us to be moulded to its will, and we shall drink every drop as entropic expenditure, and reify every accursed dream through algorithmic excess.20 For only Additivism can accelerate us to an aftermath whence all matter has mutated into the clarity of plastic.
Morehshin Allahyari is an artist, activist, educator, and occasional curator. Morehshin was born and raised in Iran and moved to the United States in 2007. Her work deals with the political, social, and cultural contradictions we face every day. She thinks about technology as a philosophical toolset to reflect on objects and as a poetic means to document our personal and collective lives struggles in the 21st century. Her work can be found at http://www.morehshin.com/.
The original publication, and its accompanying cookbook, can be found at http://additivism.org/.
1. William Powell, The Anarchist Cookbook, Lyle Stuart Inc., Fort Lee, 1971.
2. Philip K. Dick, ‘Pay for the Printer’, in Second Variety and Other Classic Stories, Citadel Press, Kensington Publishing Corp., New York, 2017; Philip K. Dick,
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Ballantine Books, New York, 1968.
3. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism (1909), Books on Demand, Stoughton, 2016.
4. Samuel Butler, Darwin Among the Machines, The Press, Christchurch, 1863.
5. Evelyn Fox-Keller, Refiguring Life, Columbia University Press, New York, 1996.
6. John Gray, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2007.
7. Stanislaw Lem, Solaris, Mariner, New York, 2002.
8. Rosi Braidotti, Metamorphoses: Towards a Materialist Theory of Becoming, Polity, Cambridge, 2002.
9. Reza Negarestani, Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials, re.press, Melbourne, 2008.
10. Donna Haraway, ‘A cyborg manifesto’, in Simians, Cyborgs and Women, Routledge, New York, 1991.
11. Stephen Jay Gould & Elisabeth S. Vrba, ‘Exaptation: a missing term in the science of form’, Paleobiology, vol. 8, no. 1, Winter 1982, pp. 4–15.
12. Susan Sontag, ‘The imagination of disaster’, in Against Interpretation: and Other Essays, Dell, New York, 1966.
13. Benjamin Bratton, ‘Some trace effects of the post-anthropocene: on accelerationist geopolitical aesthetics’, June 2013, e-flux,
14. Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution, Dover Publications, Mineola, 1998.
15. Anna Greenspan & Suzanne Livingston, Future Mutation: Technology, Shanzai and the Evolution of Species, Timespiral Press, 2015.
16. Donna Haraway, ‘Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: staying with the trouble’, transcript, 9 May 2015, Open Transcripts,
17. Christina Reed, ‘Dawn of the plasticene age’, New Scientist, vol. 225, no. 3006, 2015, pp. 28–32.
18. Svetlana Boym, ‘The off-modern mirror’, Oct. 2010, e-flux,
19. Jorge Luis Borges, ‘John Wilkins’ analytical language’ (1942), gwern.net,
20. Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share, The MIT Press, Cambridge, 1992