Audiences will impose meaning as they see fit, relative to their own contexts, and the convergence of our emotional literacy can draw us to one another. In 2018, Ripperton gifted the ESP Institute with 'Sight Seeing,' and we quickly became tourists joining the artist's departure from the comforts of his known creative narratives, however, with his tender monument of devotion, 'Contrails,' we now find ourselves blissfully lost in his code. These expansive 73 minutes are punctuated midway by a poignant solitary confession — “I’m afraid of what I might find, but I’m even more afraid of not facing this fear. I love you. I love you more than my life.” — in accordance with the fundamentals of Minimalism, the vast negative space bookending these words undoubtedly amplifies their significance.
“I’m afraid of what I might find…” Communication comes easy for some artists; the tools are obvious, logical and tangible, the dialogue is palatable and their art is often inoffensive. For others, there may be conflict, trauma or fear that result in pragmatic challenges — the tools feel foreign, deep complexities give way to creative paralysis, and communication struggles to find its form and emerge — the art becomes as much a therapeutic confessional as is a formal exercise.
“…But I’m even more afraid of not facing this fear…” Within the residue of the artist’s emotional labor, full of nuance, reservation and vulnerability, is potent code that can neither be taught nor learned, an elusive unknown whose shadows some spend a lifetime chasing, trying in vain to articulate or translate, often at their own peril.
“…I love you. I love you more than my life.” It’s this code that inexplicably tethers the soul to art — music being perhaps the most magnetic attractor of all — capable of true love upon first encounter. The blood flows like rapids, the hairs on the back of the neck stand erect, the heart surrenders absolutely to a romantic chemistry and a mutual bond is forged, a love to defend with vigor. We own the music and the music owns us. We are enamored, without words, simply head-over-heels.