Perry Hoberman
The Elvonic Transform
Cathartic User Interface (CUI) (1995) is an interactive, multi-participant installation that allows users to quickly and effectively work through whatever conflicting emotions they harbor concerning the benevolent yet pernicious influences of computer technology on their lives. An open call was issued via the World Wide Web inviting the public to submit images, sound and texts dealing with their own personal experiences of, and frustrations with, digital technologies. This material was then incorporated into an installation consisting of a wall covered with ancient and obsolete PC keyboards. Users could pitch mouselike balls at the keyboards, thereby triggering an array of multimedia projections and sounds dealing with the more troubling and problematic aspects of technology.. A ramp at the bottom returns the balls to the users for maximum cathartic effect. CUI can be utilized by any number of simultaneous users.