Ingrid Burrington writes, makes maps, and tells jokes about places, politics, and the weird feelings people have about both.
This presentation will explore the history and supply chain networks of high purity quartz, a material central to the manufacture of semiconductors and to the manufacture of new age self-help culture. While the history of the silicon chip has been well-chronicled as a story of lab innovations and industry disruption, the mines that made those chips possible have largely been treated as irrelevant details–and today, those mines are often treated as closely guarded industry secrets. In this and many other respects, the semiconductor-grade silicon crystal industry has much in common with the healing crystal industry (which has been experiencing a period of increased popularity thanks in part to the rise of networked digital platforms). By mapping the resonances between these two seemingly opposed crystal economies through archival and field research into both, this talk re-grounds the increasingly everyday experience of using networked technologies in geologic, environmental, and metaphysical dimensions.