EAA Virtual Annual Meeting
Maarten Vanden Eynde (Belgium)

Immortality Drive consists of various graphic translations of the image of the first monolithic silicon integrated circuit chip, invented by Robert Noyce of Fairchild in 1961, transferred on a copper circuit. This world changing invention is immortalised on a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) and decorated with a wide variety of seeds and grains from around the world, as in the configuration of transistors and electrical components. Together they create a Lukasa1, or memory board, that imitates the ones used by the Bambudye within the Luba Kingdom in the Democratic Republic of Congo throughout the 19th and 20th Century, as an archive for the topographical and chronological mapping of political histories, and as a means to recollect important people, places and mythical migration routes. The seeds were collected from the Botanical Garden of Meise (Belgium), Jardin Botanique de Lubumbashi (D.R. Congo), and various other places around the world. They are organised according to the graphical outlines of the first monolithic silicon integrated circuit chip and evoke the memory of seed collection, preservation, modification and militarisation.

Immortality Drive

Luba. Lukasa Memory Board, late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, metal, beads, 10 × 5 3/4 × 2 1/4 in. (25.4 × 14.6 × 5.7 cm).

Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Marcia and John Friede, 76.20.4. Creative Commons-BY.

Photo: Brooklyn Museum

A Luba court historian and high-ranking member of the Mbudye association—which guards and transmits the historical knowledge of the luba kingdom “reads” and interprets the esoteric signs on a lukasa memory board. no two recitations of a lukasa are ever the same as they depend on changing political circumstances and are performances of memory in the present.

Photo: Mary Nooter Roberts, Katanga province (then Shaba), Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire), 1989