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Turning the Place Over...is over

Moorfields artwork comes to a halt after nearly three years

Published on January 19th 2011.

Turning the Place Over...is over

THE Yates's is not for turning.

After more than three and a half years of going round and round, Turning the Place Over isno more.

The Moorfields engineering feat-come-artwork, designed by Richard Wilson (no, not that one) has rotated since May 2007 and has been seen by an estimated 3.5 million people.

It was conceived as a trailblazer for Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture and originally expected to be exhibited only into 2008.

But, like another temporary “Place” (Another Place on Crosby beach, in fact), it proved so popular, say organisers, that the decision was made to keep it going; Or perhaps they just lost the key.

All of which, anyway, was made possible by the support of project mechanical engineers Bode Positioners Ltd, Lindhurst Engineering and the city council.

For those who are unfamiliar, or just like some geeky facts, Turning the Place Over consisted of an eight-metre-diameter ovoid cut from the façade of a Yates's Wine Lodge, which was made to oscillate in three dimensions. The revolving façade rested on a specially designed giant rotator, usually used in the shipping and nuclear industries, and acted as a huge opening and closing ‘window’, offering recurrent glimpses of the interior during its constant cycle during daylight hours.

The construction programme started in February 2007 and involved the careful deconstruction of the façade across three floors of the building, which was then reconstructed and fixed to the enormous pivot installed at the heart of it. Disturbing and disorientating, passers-by were treated to a head-turning experience as the building turned above them.

Richard Wilson said: “It has been a privilege to have placed in Liverpool such an acclaimed artwork that in part doffed a cap to this city's engineering heritage".

Don't worry if you missed what was described as “the jewel in the crown of the Culture Company’s public art programme”. There's always YouTube. More than 100 videos of Turning the Place Over can be found on the site.

What now? The building and site - Cross Keys House - is currently owned by Northwest Regional Development Agency.

It will now be permanently protected against the elements and will be available for any future commercial development.

Liverpool Biennial Director of Public Art Laurie Peake said: “It has been wonderful to keep the work turning for an extra two years and I hope that those who saw it will remember this audacious feat of imagination and engineering for years to come.”

Or as Richard Wilson says: "Find one empty property, tweak it with a clever idea, enlist a great team of makers and shakers to create a sculptural formula that attracts people’s attention from all over the world.”

Swivel on that Dickie Lewis.

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Prof ChucklebuttyJanuary 17th 2011.

Besides being freezing during the winter, it just isn't practical. I had a city office in there and it kept knocking the coffee all over my desk and when Mrs Hewitt came in to do some filing, it caught the hem of her skirt leaving dangling above the street screaming; lucky it was winter and she had them on. No wonder I was the only one in there. You can't have a serious business meeting when every five minutes you have to tell everyone to duck.

DigJune 28th 2011.

Wasn't your business there called 'The Serious Duck Breeding Company'?

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