The Essential Super Mario World is part of an ongoing experimental audio series exploring the patterns and repetition built into videogames. Players control various videogame using a customized electric piano rather than a conventional gamepad controller. As the piano keys are pressed, they play the musical notes as well as executing the gamepad functions. Four people play through the levels necessary to beat Super Mario World for Super Nintendo while the resulting piano notes are recorded. The music is then divided into individual songs based on the separate game levels and collected together as an album, forming a somber echoing new soundtrack for the game. The monotony of the frenetic original soundtrack is contrasted distinctly with the tension in The Essential Super Mario World, which rises and falls analogous to the physical engagement of the player. The sounds slow to individual notes through the mundane areas of the level but build to frantic dissonant chords as the player tries to save Mario as he slips beneath the surface of the water. The piano interface transforms each videogame into a musical score that, while allowing for improvisation, must be followed.
Artist’s Biography: Brian Patrick Franklin received an MFA from the Pennsylvania State University and currently an assistant professor of expanded media at Illinois State University. His studio practice includes the use of video, sculpture, sound art, interactive programming, and installation in the examination of systems as a way to reconcile conflicts in relationships of opposition. He often appropriates various elements of pop culture such as videogames and sporting events drawing on the repetition and intense spectacle of each. His work is exhibited internationally and is privately collected.