Core computing


The work Core Computing was in collaboration with NXP semiconductors. Which is one of the biggest microchip manufacturers in the world. They unknowingly have a huge impact on the world, almost anything that uses electronics has some kind of NXP technology in it. Yet almost no one knows who they are and when talking to the experts and chip designers at NXP they barely realise the impact they had on society.

I had no idea what really happened inside the chip. I had used them for some projects but it was basically a tiny black box that needed some power and it would give an output. So I jumped into the rabbit hole of chip design. In the 70’s chip design used to be almost an artform. It was one person working weeks on a giant piece of paper drawing every single trace. This craft slowly disappeared with the increased size chip complexity and the ability to simulate everything. Even the experts told me that not really a single person designs a chip anymore. Its teams of hundreds of people and 60 percent of their time they are fixing compatibility problems. I found chip design as a craft fascinating and that’s what I tried to do. and when you zoom in you realise that chips are nothing more but transistors but into the right configuration. There are 3 logic blocks: AND gate, OR gate and a NOT gate and this is basically what every digital object on our planet is based on.

I found this quite incredible and wanted to make this visible. So I made this into a sculpture. It is a full adder, which means it can add one bit onto another. This might seem simple but this is the basic building block of every digital circuit and if you make 64 of these and connect them together you have as much programming power as a 64 bit computer. While doing this I ran into a ton of problems and after weeks of debugging and figuring things out I could finally calculate that 1 plus 1 equals 2.

This work was commissioned by NXP Semiconductors