The New School Archives Digital Collections

Parsons School of Design MFA Photography program theses2006 (PC020403.02) ➔ Skips


Related people/organizations

Parsons School of Design. Photography Department. (sponsoring body)
Maureen Duncan (photographer)


May 2006


This project began a long time before it officially began. My parents, believing that popular mumusic, the visual, and personal history which is essential to the creation of and strategy behind my own work.sic was the gateway to unimaginable social and moral vice, did not allow me to purchase music or watch MTV. I believe that I developed a very intimate relationship with music precisely because I was not allowed to listen to it. When I was eight, I began paying neighborhood kids $0.50 to copy their older siblings’ music onto audio cassettes for me, which I would then sneak into the house. Two important things emerged from this: 1) because I did not want to get caught doing something I was not supposed to be doing, I would wait until I was sure everyone else was asleep, then turn the volume down as low as I could stand with my ear affixed firmly to the speaker of a small cassette player, and 2) I never had any visuals to go along with the music to which I was listening, so I would draw my own covers for the cassettes based on what I had heard, often sketching myself into them. Because I turned the volume down so low whenever I played one of my surreptitiously acquired tapes, I had to devote my full attention to the act of listening. Similarly, because the cassettes were returned to me with nothing more than a piece of masking tape indicating only the artists the cassettes contained, the only visuals I had to accompany what I heard was that of the cassette itself and the drawings I made to go with them, neither of which had a part in the official mode of dissemination. While these cassettes are the impetus behind my project rather than the subject material itself, I narrate the background here to illustrate the relationship among music, the visual, and personal history which is essential to the creation of and strategy behind my own work.



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