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Linder

Linder Sterling is currently an artist-in-residence at Tate St. Ives, UK. The founder of the post-punk group Ludus, she is also known for her prolific collage work, which is featured on the iconic cover of the Buzzcocks’ 1977 single “Orgasm Addict,” and has been celebrated internationally, with solo shows this year at Tate St. Ives; the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. On November 11, her ballet The Ultimate Form will be staged in New York as part of Performa 13.

  1. MAHARISHI AYURVEDA PEACE OF MIND PURE ESSENTIAL OIL BLEND

    Wherever I go, this oil goes with me. No matter the city, I always leave my hotel room infused with damask rose, benzoin gum, and jasmine, courtesy of the deftly skilled Council of the Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians. I research perfumes as others might research climate change; I want to know why profound psychological shifts take place when inhaling ylang-ylang and bergamot on a wet Tuesday afternoon in Rotterdam.

  2. THE SWANN-MORTON SURGICAL SCALPEL

    Over the years, I’ve tried every form of blade to see which facilitates the most accurate cut. But I always return to the ones produced by Swann-Morton, preferring the No. 11 gauge “with a strong pointed tip making it ideal for stab incisions.” A scalpel cuts flesh and paper with equal neutrality. Thankfully, so far I’ve only ever had to cut the latter. My handle of choice is the Swann-Morton No. 3G S/S, for “trauma injury investigations”—one possible explanation for the collages that I make.

    *Swann-Morton surgical scalpel blades.* Photo: Merit Creative/Swann-Morton. Swann-Morton surgical scalpel blades. Photo: Merit Creative/Swann-Morton.
  3. MORRISSEY, “GLAMOROUS GLUE” (SIRE, 1992)

    If I ever write my autobiography, I’ll steal the name of this single for my title. I love it because it’s a poetic précis of the ambitions of a lifetime, but also because of its etymology, glamour being fused to grammar at its root. An eighteenth-century variation of the latter term, glamour initially indicated the use of language in a certain “charming” way. In earlier times, “casting a glamour” was considered a crime and being found guilty of it often led to charges of witchcraft and punishment by death. Lucky for me, these laws had long since changed before Morrissey was born. And with lines such as “everything of worth on earth is there to share,” this song happens to echo the Maharishi Ayurvedic physicians.

    *Morrissey performing at Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY, November 11, 1991.* Photo: Linder. Morrissey performing at Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY, November 11, 1991. Photo: Linder.
  4. SOLOMON J. SOLOMON, SAMSON, 1887

    My parents took me to the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool in 1963, when I was nine years of age. It was the first time that I’d been to an art gallery, and I was fascinated by Solomon’s foreboding Samson painting—especially his depiction of Deliliah—which was hung above a staircase. I later found out her figure was actually a collage of sorts, her head having been modeled on that of an Indian woman and her body on that of an Italian woman. Between Samson and Delilah and the Liverpool Beatniks that afternoon with their rebelliously long locks, it’s been all about the hair ever since.

  5. OUR LADY OF SORROWS, LORETO CHURCH, PRAGUE

    This shrine is dedicated to Saint Wilgefortis, a princess who, having petitioned God to rescue her from an unwanted marriage proposal, woke up one morning with a fully grown beard. As the story goes, the betrothed prince was repulsed by this divine intervention and called off the engagement; equally disgusted, the princess’s royal father ordered that his daughter be crucified. Meanwhile, in the twenty-first century, sales for men’s depilatory creams have seen unprecedented growth. “All Nair for Men products are formulated to remove hair from a man’s chest, back, legs, and arms.” As I say, it’s always all about the hair.

  6. BARBARA HEPWORTH, THEME ON ELECTRONICS (ORPHEUS), 1956

    A modern take on an ancient myth, this elegant rotating brass lyre is the only kinetic work the British sculptor ever created. I try to imagine the sounds stringed sculptures such as this one would make if, permitted to function as instruments, they could be plucked or bowed. The multiple sympathetic strings used in Indian music offer some hints. Hepworth has been one of my household gods for quite some time now—where she leads I follow.

    *Barbara Hepworth, _Orpheus (Maquette 2) (Version II)_, 1959*, brass, cotton string, wood, 45 1/4 x 17 x 16 3/8". Barbara Hepworth, Orpheus (Maquette 2) (Version II), 1959, brass, cotton string, wood, 45 1/4 x 17 x 16 3/8".
  7. JAQUES DEMY, PEAU D’ÂNE (DONKEY SKIN, 1970)

    This musical blockbuster gives us Catherine Deneuve as a princess troubled by her widowed father’s decision to marry her. Hoping to educate the confused damsel, the Lilac Fairy (Delphine Seyrig) offers a cautioning song. “A prince with a shepherdess may find joy, but a girl with her father can expect nothing but tainted offspring,” she intones, persuading the princess to flee the palace disguised in the skin of a donkey, taking with her a dress of stars. Demy goes where Disney never dared, c’est fou!

    *Jacques Demy, _Peau d’âne_ (Donkey Skin), 1970*, 35 mm, color, sound, 90 minutes. Princess (Catherine Deneuve) and Prince (Jacques Perrin). Jacques Demy, Peau d’âne (Donkey Skin), 1970, 35 mm, color, sound, 90 minutes. Princess (Catherine Deneuve) and Prince (Jacques Perrin).
  8. THE TAUS

    Invented by the Sikhs in the late 1600s, this typically twenty-stringed instrument is played with a bow. A century later, the dilruba emerged as a smaller and more compact version of the taus—a shape better suited for the Sikh soldiers traveling on horseback. Since I already play the dilruba, I’m presently designing my own taus, thinking of Hepworth’s Orpheus as I do so.

  9. GREG WILSON

    In the early ’80s, I used to go to a club in Manchester called Legend. Greg Wilson would DJ there, collaging vinyl to create swathes of deep sound, made even more subterranean-seeming by his use of a reel-to-reel Revox B77 recorder. Recently, Greg has begun meticulously piecing together the history of Manchester’s black dance music, ventriloquizing voices long overshadowed within the city’s illustrious musical history.

    *Legend nightclub, Manchester, UK, ca. 1980.* Legend nightclub, Manchester, UK, ca. 1980.
  10. JOACHIM-ERNST BERENDT, THE WORLD IS SOUND—NADA BRAHMA: MUSIC AND THE LANDSCAPE OF CONSCIOUSNESS (INSEL VERLAG, 1983)

    This book was published around the same time that I was dancing to Wilson’s electro-funk mixes. “Sound is more certain than time and matter,” Berendt declared, and that statement made as much sense then as it does now. Delineating the primordial relationship between sound and the sacred, Nada Brahma offers a structure for thinking through the eternal, endlessly fascinating dynamics of these properties.