We went on a course visit to the People's History Museum in Manchester to see a very relevant exhibition titled 'Show Me The Money'.This exhibition charts how the financial world has been imagined in art, illustration, photography and other visual media.
This exhibition asks: what does ‘the market’ look like? What does money really stand for? How can the abstractions of high finance be made visible? Who is finance for? The exhibition charts how the financial world has been imagined in art, illustration, photography and other visual media over the last three centuries in Britain and the United States. The project asks how artists have grappled with the increasingly intangible and self-referential nature of money and finance, from the South Sea Bubble of the 18th century to the global financial crisis of 2008. The exhibition includes an array of media: paintings, prints, photographs, videos, artefacts, and instruments of financial exchange both ‘real’ and imagined. Indeed, the exhibition also charts the development of a variety of financial visualisations, including stock tickers and charts, newspaper illustrations, bank adverts, and electronic trading systems.
Show Me The Money demonstrates that the visual culture of finance has not merely reflected prevailing attitudes to money and banking, but has been crucial in forging – and at times critiquing – the very idea of ‘the market’.
I found the visit to the exhibition very helpful, as it allowed me to realise that currency has a massive presence in visual culture. I certainly take the design of money for granted, and this show allowed me to realise the complexity and co-ordination that goes into the aesthetic of something that I was supposedly so familiar with. The show also allowed me to realise that I could use this brief to make an statement, make an impact and be controversial in my approach to the design, as the majority of the works in the show were just that. It opened my eyes to the possibilities in terms of concepts and aesthetics. It was a great starting point in terms of primary research for this brief.