Venue : People's History Museum
Start date: 9th March 2012
End date : 29th September 2013
Visit date : 19th April, 2012
Mr Monkey scampered into Manchester to see Hidden, the latest exhibition at the People's History Museum.
For Hidden, the photographer Red Saunders has created a series of large banners depicting photographic recreations of important 'hidden' events in British history.
These include the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, the Levellers during the Civil War, Mary Wollstonecraft at Newington Green, the Captain Swing disturbances, and the Chartists.
Each picture is created by photographing groups of volunteers. The difficulties of getting the right number of people in the right place at the right time mean that each tableaux has to be made up of several images, digitally assembled into a single whole. This allows a lot of freedom with the positioning and size of people in the final pictures. In some cases it does rather show that the people were not photographed at the same place or time, but that might be a result of the size of the images on display.
Mr Monkey enjoyed the video, which shows the creation of several of the pictures from taking the initial on-site photos, through taking the additional photos, up to the final digital manipulations. Mr Monkey was particularly interested to see how involved with the characters they were playing some of the participants seemed to be.
While Mr Monkey enjoyed the exhibition, he did mutter a little at the tableaux of Wat Tyler marching into London. While it was a striking image, the peasants seemed to have an awful lot of well-fitting armour, some of which appeared to have come from the century after they revolted.
Mr Monkey became very involved with the pictures, which made him want to know more about the subjects. He was a little peeved to find that he needed to use a QR code to access information about the events shown. In some cases, of course, he was directed to scamper upstairs and tour the museum, which is a sensible idea in any case.
Mr Monkey's favourite pictures were the women preaching at a Leveller encampment during the Civil War, and the Chartist meeting which includes William Cuffay, a man of colour. These were really effective pictures, well composed and with excellent lighting effects, giving a real feel of witnessing an actual event. He almost felt like asking if the Levellers could spare him a banana.
Overall, Mr Monkey thinks that Hidden is an interesting project making for an impressive exhibition.