Drinks With… Ben Highmore

12.9.2014, Talks

Ben Highmore, writer and Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex, discusses the idea of habit as something that has developed negative associations in the modern age; where the domestic is connected with a place of routine, whilst the street is where excitement happens.

"To my mind scrutinising the world from the perspective of everyday life means that you have to start, not with abstractions, but with the concrete, the habitual, the taken-for-granted and the ubiquitous. There is a danger here: if you are interested in the insignificant, then by attending to it you alter it and it becomes newly significant. Such dangers have to be treated as opportunities to transform the everyday (however slightly) by the way you register it in the multitude of genres and platforms that are available to us."

Ben Highmore's work is broadly concerned with everyday life and its possibilities and problems. This has included writing about traditions of philosophy and criticism that have tried to grapple with the everyday. It has also meant writing about food, art, design, craft, bombsites, playgrounds, and a host of other things. He is currently working on the relationships between taste, retailing, art and design, and domestic life as part of a major research fellowship for the Leverhulme Trust. His books include The Great Indoors: At Home in the Modern British House (2014), Ordinary Lives: Studies in the Everyday (2011) and Everyday Life and Cultural Theory: An Introduction (2002).

Drinks With… was a series of commissioned presentations by noted speakers, asking pertinent questions in response to the key curatorial concerns of the 8th Biennial Exhibition, A Needle Walks into a Haystack. This talk took place on 23 October 2014 in the Liverpool Medical Institution.