Kitty A.K.A. Kitty Bergman
Occupation: Web Mistress and Marketing Consultant
What do you think a case modder is?
A case modder is somewhat self-explanatory. They modify computer cases. However, a number of us go beyond simple things such as repainting a case to get rid of the ugly stock beige colour with various addons and other modifications, ranging from mild to wild. To me, case modding isn't just limited to the actual case, but interior parts and peripherals as well. Overclocking isn't a necessity, but for some of us, it's having bragging rights that we took a CPU and hopped it up; it's like doing an overbore on a car engine. For many of us, it's an addiction. It's like owning a pretty cool car that we just have to make look different. Psychologically speaking, perhaps it's the need to be different so that we stand apart from the status quo. For some it's a matter of self-expression; for others it's because others are doing it. See my rant below concerning my view of the current state of case modding.
Why do you case mod?
I mod out of necessity for self-expression. I use my computer quite a lot. I began modding when I bought my first home computer about ten years ago. I hate beige so I had to paint it. It all went from there. Eventually I found an online modding community and expanded my horizons even further and it brought me back to my artistic roots, as well as helping me to learn more about electronics for modding and meeting some pretty great guys. You just can't talk modding to the average Compaq owner. They are happy with their tacky plastic face covers and don't understand that need for change and personal expression. I mod because I can.
What do you get out of the case modding experience?
Sometimes it can be frustrating, but overall it's a way to enjoy a hobby (more like obsession). If I've had a rough day, there's nothing like grabbing my Dremel and making serious sparks fly while cutting something new on a case. It gives me the satisfaction of having done it myself - no pre-fab crap for me. No way. And again, it also gives me the freedom of self-expression. I don't mod to please anyone but myself. After all, I'm the one who has a case or two staring at me for 12+ hours a day. In some ways, it's an extension of my personality. So I get a lot of out the experience.
How do you think people look at your work?
Their reactions have varied from high excitement, to comments that they didn't like my choices of colours, to even fright. "You spent a WEEK painting your case??? Why?" If you have to ask why, you just wouldn't understand. But I have to say that most people react positively. My work is my art. Art is subjective. Either you get it or you don't; either you like it or you don't. I don't care if someone doesn't like my work. It's *my* work and if they don't like it, it's their problem.
How do you feel when people judge your work:
It makes me feel good that others share appreciation for work that goes against the status quo. Some of my earliest work inspired others to do things to their computers too. I haven't shown any of my latest work to anyone other than close friends and family. My sister used to pishaw my work; she was happy with average. Now she wants to mod her own computer.
It depends on in what manner they react negatively. If they say something like "I think it sucks" or "You have too much time on your hands" that's fine with me. They are entitled to their opinion and I just mentally write it off that they have no artistic appreciation or understanding for the need of self expression. If they react in a way that they insult me personally, that's another thing. I usually have choice words for people like that and I don't back down. In short, you can have your opinion but don't try to shove it down my throat or you'll end up with it stuck somewhere that hurts.
Add any other random comments, concerns, rants, etc here.
Ah, yes. Thank you for this opportunity. In my opinion, the modding community is becoming more and more divided. There are those who are happy with all having the same mods as the other 95% of the group. To me, they are no better than those who are content with plain beige boxes. In fact, I see them as being worse. I call people like that "clusterfucks" - people who think they are being different, when in fact their work is no different from other modders. In my opinion, such things as biohazard window etches are long since passť. If one guy does it and others like it, the rest of the sheep herd themselves together and do the very same thing. That's not modding. It's copying. It's right back to another level of status-quo, ie, one massive clusterfuck. The modding guys I still stay in touch with occasionally are those who always have pushed the limits in ability and creativity. Your average guy is not going to drop $200+ for a custom airbrush paint job. Some of "us" will, or buy a cheap airbrush and learn to do it ourselves. A lot of "us" are never fully content and have to keep doing newer and better mods. Maybe it's ego, or maybe it's that strife to be different. Sure, some of "us" love to awe the sheep with what we've done, and yes some of those guys will try to do the same thing. Or worse yet, they'll ask if we'll do the same thing for them. Most of "us" share ideas with each other and occasionally copy another's idea or concept. But that's usually where it ends. Even if we copy a concept, there's usually something inside us that wants to personalise whatever it is. Say, for instance, one of us does a really wild job on a case, using EL cable. Sure, a lot of the little sheepies are using it now, but most of them are happy with just slapping the stuff on a case. Not the other 5% of us. We need to utilise a *design*. You can toss all your money at your case, but it won't make it pretty. It takes heart, spirit and yes, blood, sweat and tears. Getting a piece of a Dremel cutting wheel lodged in your body is like a rite of passage. Having to redo a small painted area because we got a drop of sweat on it is a chore, yet a labour of love. Tears may and do fall when we fail to reach the high standard we have set for ourselves. But we always pick ourselves back up again, and call, email or otherwise contact one of our modding buds from that 5% of the group who will understand and offer condolences, laugh at us, mock us or all the above. It's all in fun and competition between us. We're still friends and we do help each other out.
To me, that is what modding is.
[Authors note: Kitty is a great gal and good friend of mine. She is really cool, just don't piss her off.]
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