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save the princess! sound installation proposal

I mentioned in passing that I'm taking an advanced sound art class. I suppose I should have taken the intro to sound art class, but that would have been too easy.

Anyway, we all have to create a sound installation as our final project, and I actually found a way to force myself to play video games. (Or, you can gather that I'm compensating for not growing up with a Nintendo Entertainment System. I know, it's tragic: my parents have robbed me of my childhood because I have yet to save the princess in both Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. It's true.) Here's the proposal.

I want to create a sound installation that invokes nostalgia for the 1980s, the decade of my childhood, by fusing the sentimentality of outdoor playgrounds with the wistfulness of the Nintendo Entertainment system. I plan to do this by installing a tape loop of processed sounds from the video games Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda at a local outdoor playground.

To do this, I will explore different local playgrounds in Cincinnati. Preference will be given to outdoor playgrounds that are close to the University of Cincinnati. After choosing a playground, I will need to figure out how to install the sound. Specifically, I will need to install speakers and use a device that plays a continual loop. Of course, I will also need to sample sounds from both video games and process them.

For the outcome to be successful, I will have created an hour tape loop based on processed video game sounds, and this tape loop will be played at strategically-placed areas in an outdoor playground. This sound installation relates to my previous work because I have created tape pieces in the past where I have sampled sounds and manipulated them. However, I haven’t created an electronic work that was installed in a specific area.

This project will further my skills using Max/MSP, an interactive graphical programming environment for music, audio, and media. Also, I must brainstorm and solve the issue of installing this project outside, which involves figuring out how to use electronic equipment like speakers and playback devices outdoors. (Did I mention I will also develop my mad video-gaming skillz?! I will need to spend hours to save the princess.)

To present this work in progress, I will have photos of the selected playground and sound samples available, and I will find a solution for outdoor playback. I will deem this installation successful if (1) I can successfully install this project in an outdoor playground and (2) if the participants can recognize the video game themes, and, because of this, become instantly happy.

[So, how pathetic is this that I came up with a piece that forces me to purchase and play video games? As my friend TR says, I should purchase and play video games anyway.]

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