Wrap liquid coolant around the computer’s processor. Fling in a neon light with a transparent side panel show it off. Sneeze some gloss paint over that plastic. That’s what boils down “case modding” computers these days. However the best case modding rises above such glitz. At its best it is functional kinetic sculpture. Rich in humour and sharp comments about the human relationship with computer technology.
Case modding has a fair share geeky esoteric references – though mostly buried in the details. Waiting those who know where to dig. Good case mods I think connect with people more directly than formally defined “abstract” art. The humour and irony is a major part of that connectivity which reaches easily into the non-geek world.
Yet even the best case mods are an expression of a sub culture. Similar to the world of modern art. At the broadest level, case modding is an expression of an technical inquisitive, persistent, mischievous, slightly libertarian sensibility. Which prizes ingenuity and creative resourceful uses of technology. Particularly feats accomplished with the intelligent use of simple tools.
The best expression of this sensibility is in the creative use of computing refuse. Primarily re-contextualising some ancient/obsolete artefact of computer technology. It is easier (and lazier) to show these theme than to tell. So here are a few. The first two are legendary.
SGI Fridge – obsolete high end server transmognified into a working mini fridge,
The VAX Bar – a former mainframe computer converted to a bar. Its more than 10 years old but has stood the test of time.
Commodore Lug top – 1980s suitcase size “portable” computer (a Commodore SX-64) given a second life.
First generation imac stuffed into a working 21″ CRT monitor – Miraculously no one died in the process.
iNote book – concrete expression of post modern de-constructionist literalism
You get the picture 🙂 I’ll leave you to peruse the case modding sites linked above. In the greater scheme of things I suppose case modding is ultimately frivolous activity. Like blogging or art 🙂