Birmingham Book Festival 2011

Boy you turn me was a sound installation commissioned by the Birmingham Book Festival for the 2011 festival programme. Boy You Turn Me is by contemporary classical composer Ailis Ni Riain and writer David Gaffney.

Situated in an empty Birmingham shop in the Pavilions shopping centre, it uses a unique structure – an inner and outer layer of sound – to explore the feelings and thoughts of those who used to work in this abandoned retail space. The two layers of music and text can be heard separately or at the same time by moving around the specially created space. This inner and outer structure for a musical composition has never been explored before.

A purpose built wall was also built around the shop’s counter to act like a sound booth containing speakers under the counter top that broadcast the inner tracks within the centre of the space, outside the booth larger speakers were placed high up in each corner of the shop broadcasting the outer dialogue and music.

The recording of the script took place at Joseph Chamberlain College with staff at the college stepping in to provide the authentic Midlands accents required of the story.

You can hear a brief extract of the piece on Soundcloud.

This work was made possible through a commission from the Birmingham Book Festival and grant funding from Arts Council England and PRS for music foundation as well as additional support from Pavilions shopping centre in Birmingham and Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College.

Red Lantern managed and produced the final installation in association with David Gaffney, Ailis Ni Riain, Alistair Walsh and technician Peter Maxwell Dixon.


People were encouraged to follow the project’s progress on Twitter: @BoyYouTurnMe, via a production phase Blog or on facebook at Boy You Turn Me.

The installation opened at the Pavilions on 6th October 2011 at a launch event from 4:30pm to 6:00pm.

The piece was open daily: Mon – Sat 9.30am to 5pm, Sun 11am to 5pm as part of Birmingham Book Festival, 6 – 16 October 2011.

Here is a word image of the audience and visitor comments that we collected over the ten days the project was open.

Word image of feedback and comments from Boy You Turn Me