- Ali Glover
- some dust
- Moabit, Berlin
- 24th August 2023, 20:30 CEST
some dust is a sound piece situated in a construction site hole on the corner of Stromstraße and Turmstraße in Berlin between 20:30 and 23:00 CEST on the 24th August 2023. The journey to the site was made by Glover on foot from his apartment on Siemensstraße, just over 1km away.
Being on foot had become our process of discussing the work over the last few months, taking walks along the old route of the Grand Surrey Canal to Peckham and around London Fields. Our steps found a rhythm with the sounds Glover had been working on during his ZK/U residency in Berlin. Pounding our conversations through our feet, thinking about how the earth can absorb sound. The site emerged naturally, specific to the area where Glover had been recording his sounds and emblematic of his interest in the underlying structures of a city. On the evening of the placement, he sent me a photo of the construction site hole and I looked out across my balcony in London at the building site opposite me. It’s noisy at unexpected times of day. I laughed when Glover sends me a text saying somebody had just walked past and said, “What the fuck, is music coming from that pipe?”. Sort of how I feel when this building site starts bellowing.
A droning begins. Rumblings join along, crackles. A repetitive hiss falls in and drops back out again. Layers are accumulating and then dissolving. Industrial noises back away to make space for something earthier. Then back to a whirring. The sounds are speaking to each other. There’s no battle for a primary line, instead there is a swelling, a growing. Suddenly an alarm-like sound - has something gone wrong? Ah, not to worry, it’s stopped. A thudding becomes more constant, reassuring but still not regular. Something bubbles up as if from underwater, a chirping we heard before but further away, swollen. A buzzing now, like a distant helicopter, a boat, an engine. Soft and fuzzy next to the constant whining. Then a whistling and a few heavy beats to end, like a spade patted down on to the earth.
some dust is a rich texture of tangled up sounds built from field recordings gathered in Berlin. Glover’s editing process, which both combines and isolates layers, reveals and obscures the strands of sound which make up the city. Within these strands, a duet emerges between the industrial and earthy: clanking moans against wobbling ebbs. This interaction guides the composition, drawing on the site at Stromstraße where an old tram line is being uncovered. Machinery is biting through pavements into the soft soil below. Is the line being excavated for future use? For preservation? Why was it ever covered up? Filling up the hole with the sound of its own making builds on the uncertainties which surround it, creating a continuous loop of emptying and refilling. In these uncertain terms, the hole could have been dug just to house this sound. some dust begins to produce its own histories here, its own mode of occupying and documenting space.
Glover’s preoccupation with methods of city planning hovers behind some dust. How do inherited methods of caring for a place exist alongside new ones? How are people’s everyday actions guided by structures and policies which govern a city? There is an urgency to his interrogation of site and its potential for intervention which is driven by an interest in processes of uncovering, demarcating and tracing. As passers-by ask Glover if he had heard the sounds from the pipes whilst they peered into the blue-lit construction hole, a new method of city planning comes into being. Bodies become inscribed with the movement of listening to something they think they might be imagining - why would music be coming out of the ground anyway?
Ali Glover is an artist who lives and works in London. He completed his BA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths. He recently undertook a three month residency at ZK/U Berlin where he was working on some dust. He is a member of F.A.F. collective and has exhibited his solo and group work most recently at Split Gallery, Commonage Projects and Staffordshire St Gallery.