We’ve reached book IV in Rupert Clervaux’s series of “Zibaldone” audio diaries, at which point we find him telling a different kind of story.
“The first three all had very specific themes, while this one feels a little bit looser and doesn’t have just one thematic thrust,” he tells me, which maybe explains why listening feels a bit like annotating. I’m underlining, emphasizing, drawing arrows from here to there, highlighting symbols and noting motifs, realising, questioning, eureka-ing. An impressionistic meaning’s been encoded in and we’re lucky to be given the space to play that most poetic and boundless of all mental games: narrativization.
There are no wrong answers, but Rupert offers some clues either way. If there’s any cipher here it’s “something like a meditation on the concept of ‘depth’––in all its connotative forms.” Think below the surface, (the) underground, yawning oceans, being ‘down in the dirt’, soil, roots, rootlessness, pulling at the dregs, collapse, profundity, stable and unstable horizons, distance, perspective, intuition, not to mention relative opposites: to be shallow, to be above, to be beyond.
It’s got me thinking of Bresson’s “Bring things together that have as yet never been brought together and did not seem predisposed to be so.” His: “Dig deep where you are. Don't slip off elsewhere.” Rupert has realized these—two favourite goals of mine!—here.
This is music that catches you at your own periphery, gives pause, has you offering a little “huh” to, asking “I wonder why” to. Again, it’s got me musing on another mindworm, this time from New York publisher and multi-sensory reading room Dispersed Holdings: “Feeling-making-knowing feedback loop; cartography of feeling; water as text, read to know the land beneath and around it, and body as reader.”
Is it ok to offer up these other contexts out of context? I think so, because Zibaldone IV articulates a similarly swirly tone. Like, we’ve got Rebecca Solnit talking through Kropotkin’s “Mutual Aid” and later calling out to Michael Ruppert a ways away, and “Easy Rider” is playing in the wings. We’ve got Susan Sontag magically contextualizing Mariah Carey with poet Thylias Moss triangulating in order to sketch out (Rupert again) “something a little more interesting than wilful eclecticism or that laboured and patronising kind of pop-savvy.”
Are we following? Whether yes or no Vanessa Bedoret follows on with a performance of a performance of Moss’s 'Water Road’: to be once or twice removed, via strange transitions, purposeful confusions, and, suddenly, seagulls. We’re on a boat with Ingeborg Bachmann—and how I wish I could actually be! But maybe thanks to this music I can as literature, films, friends, lethargy, coincidences, little mental links, eternal wormholes, lingering notions come together to imagine something better.
Text by Natalia Panzer