Technological Object: Printed Circuit Board

Near the beginning of Thomas Pynchon’s paranoid glimpse of Cold War connectedness, The Crying of Lot 49, Oedipa Maas finds herself at the top of a slope overlooking the Southern California exurb of San Narciso. As she squints through her car windscreen, the clustered buildings remind her of the material substrate of technological communications:

She thought of the first time she’d opened a transistor radio to replace a battery and seen her first printed circuit. The ordered swirl of houses and streets, from this high angle, sprang at her now with the same unexpected, astonishing clarity as the circuit card had. Though she knew even less about radios than about Southern Californians, there were to both outward patterns a hieroglyphic sense of concealed meaning, of an intent to communicate.

For most users of consumer electronics like Oedipa, circuit boards appear only when something has gone wrong. When they do, they provoke conflicting responses. Revelation, the sense of approaching the real entity, is tempered by the opaqueness of the object. How does this recalcitrant thing relate to the transcendent experience of communication or control it promises?

The now-common trope of the circuit board city suggests the increasing integration of our urban systems in sprawling networks of production, processing, and consumption. Sites, locations, places, become components, addresses, unutilized space. And it’s true that the PCB’s visual resemblance to urban topography makes it the most potent emblem of digital modernity’s geographical compression. With its blocks and conduits, its junctions and routes and interchanges, it visually resembles a compressed city, and that compression neatly parallels the global annihilation of distance that is commonly held to be the necessary outcome of technological acceleration.

But there is another way to look at the printed circuit. It isn’t just the digital rapidity of electrical signals and communications packets that associates the PCB with global compression. For the PCB reflects that compression in its material substance as well as in its engineered form. Coltan from West Africa. Copper from South America. Etching chemicals and insulating polymers produced in American-owned factories. Cheap assembly labour in Southern China. An international hybrid, the PCB performs its operations on seemingly immaterial data by virtue of a physical fusion of minerals, plastics, glass fibres, resins and other synthetics: the material products of an entire globe.

Since the early 1980s, the German artist Petrus Wandrey has been making sculptures and collages that reflect this propensity of the PCB for assimilating heterogeneity. Wandrey’s work has variously repurposed circuit boards to represent angelic messenger figures, associated them with the bold linear shapes of pre-Columbian art, and assembled them into a kitschy German stag.

—James Purdon

This entry was posted in Technological Object. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Technological Object: Printed Circuit Board

  1. john clark says:

    Great Guest Postsensure a natural backlinks profile for your higher rankings. With our inventory of over 10,000+ sites from across the globe, you can now buy High DA & DR Guest Posts from quality sites in the USA, UK, AU, and Canada. We guarantee placement on genuine websites with organic traffic with all niches covered – all at reasonable prices.

  2. dimacia says:

    Drift Hunters is now available on our website. Enjoy!

  3. santaoliver says:

    Traditional sports bettors are especially concerned with the fairness of esports. It’s a new form of entertainment, and the lack of physicality http://escores24.com/game/lol/ can make unfair play less clear. However, esports matches are on the same level as the NFL or NBA when it comes to match integrity. With larger prize pools and more viewers than ever, there’s plenty of incentive for esports teams to stay on the straight-and-narrow. Thanks to the growth of the esports industry and the presence of integrity commissions, you can make esports bets with the same confidence as traditional sports bets.

  4. David Harbor says:

    Damn, much a debt of gratitude is in order for your proposal. I really like to play live roulette, I will not stow away, especially for cash. As of now there are numerous online regions that offer games for cash, anyway where to find a strong wellspring of such objections, there are out and out various objections for playing on the web. It turns me on so much, especially following a dreary day at work, there is nothing better compared to a few hundred, which will not change much to the extent reserves, anyway will change everything to the extent demeanor.

  5. If you are looking for someone whom you can pay to take your course for you then Best Exams Help experts will assist you regarding your online classes & provide solutions to their online classes. So students can achieve higher grades with our take my course services with highly qualified faculty.

  6. Jeremy Irons says:

    thanks for the text! Very fun to read! I would also like to share information on how you can easily submit an essay and any other written work. I found professional writers at this site and now I have all my works without plagiarism and on time

  7. Asley Patricia says:

    Thankfully, the Technology, Applied Science, IT, and Computer Science topics are incorporated into our curriculum and I understand about the technologies. Basically, I am a CIPD learner, and the CIPD Computer Science Assignment Help is our online virtual support and help provider. In our CIPD course, we also deal with technological objects.

  8. here says:

    Needless to say, hitting the internet also gives you plenty of chance to check out a variety of new casinos and new games without the hassle of, well, waiting for new brick-and-mortar casinos to be built!. These are introduced from time to time and are generally packed with original features, interesting themes, and exciting offers to please the players and keep them attracted.

  9. John Green says:

    thanks for this article – nice to read. I am a student, and I understand what it is like when you have 2 days left before the essay delivery, and you have no idea how to write it. At such moments, I always turn to best coursework writing service – these guys are professional writers and are ready to tackle any topic – always without payment, and always in the middle. I am very pleased with my choice and I advise you!

  10. proven pills says:

    On top of that, ProVen does not only claim to help you to lose weight. It also boosts your metabolism and helps you to detox. At the time, I was considering buying ProVen, I needed help to boost my metabolism. Also, my liver was telling me it needed help.

  11. leptoconnect says:

    Knowing that any supplement is manufactured by a quality company, and backed up by their guarantee, always gives me peace of mind.

  12. I took the same approach to ProVen reviews as I did when I buy anything else online. Would it work and what does make it work in the first place?

  13. organifi says:

    When you shop from home and online like I do, you do spend your fair share of time researching the products you plan to buy.

  14. Jen Davis says:

    Brewing cold coffee likeapro requires specific knowledge and skills. Additionally, there is no way you achieve the desired result without quality coffee beans. I have purchased the best product in the store, so now I just need to get the technique.

  15. Jason says:

    Hello readers!

  16. Meyers13364 says:

    The same request is only 3 dollars more! Naturally, this doesn’t mean we can’t produce your order in a swift fashion.

  17. Mark Valenzuela says:

    I think that this is an IT revolution begins. With a printed circuit board. Do you want a dissertation about revolution in IT? Have a look here https://essaywriters.site/best-dissertation-writer and hire a writer!

  18. Jackson says:

    What are the basic features of the Printed Circuit Board because I am learning right now. I get to know about some of the notes from assignment writing service in london which are so helpful.

  19. David Trotter says:

    Interesting that you begin with Lot 49, James. I thought of Craig Raine’s 1977 poem ‘Flying to Belfast’, in which the city is ‘a radio // With its back ripped off, / Among the agricultural abstracts’. Raine seems as eager as Pynchon to dissolve the thing’s hybridity by means of a kind of negative theology. Except that in the poem it looks as though transcendental experience will arrive courtesy of the IRA. ‘The windows // Gleamed like drops of solder – / Everything was wired up.’ I wonder, if we’re trying to redeem the thing from the experience it might or might not gesture at, about the force of the ‘printed’ in printed circuit board. Where did that come from? And does it mediate the material and the immaterial, thing and experience?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.