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Ben Highmore
Interests: history, the mundane, design, everyday life, moods and art.
Interests: history, the mundane, design, everyday life, moods and art.

Ben's posts

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Keep it under your hat
Once upon a time many national cultures were hat-wearing
cultures. Everyone, or nearly everyone, wore them, and they wore them every day,
not just for funerals and weddings. Kids wore them to school, or when out
delivering newspapers; grownups wore them to ...

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All that is solid melts into air
Charles Saatchi’s first ‘public’ gallery was in London’s St
John’s Wood and opened in the 1980s in an old paint factory, not too far away
from Sigmund Freud’s final home. You couldn’t have hoped for a more telling symptom
of the times. Here was the advertis...

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Roadside Memorials
For a while I lived in the London ‘village’ of Barnes. It’s
just over the river from Hammersmith and is favoured by media types and artists
of a certain age (it has become far too expensive for the younger brand of
bohemians). I had a very cheap room there ...

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Coloured Mud
In some distant time, when the treasured items of industrial
modernity will have been disinterred from the ruins of the Anthropocene, there
will be some questions about what to make of those rectangles of paint on
canvas to be found in museums across the wo...

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First Party
I’m sure I had been to parties before – kids’ parties, with
games and jelly and ice cream – that sort of thing. But this was the first
party I can actually remember, and the reason I remember it so clearly was
because it was a kids’ party which was pretendi...

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Like many children in the 1960s, I collected stamps. It was
a relatively cheap hobby and there was always the possibility that one day your
collection could be a treasure trove of rare gems. I still have my album and it
is filled with Hungarian stamps (Magy...

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Everything Must Go
When the headache-coloured skies of winter descend, the
ubiquitous advertising hoardings and illuminated shop fronts takes on a new
role. Giant backlit transparencies, neon signage or electronic screens punch holes
in the drab, proximate environment. Amidst...

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Scenography of Dreams
Freud, in his big book of dreams, claims that the grammar of
dreams is a negotiation of the past and the future pressed through the
preoccupations and happenstance of the present. A dream, for Freud, roughly
follows patterns inherited from the past, driven ...

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The Going
I’m not alone, I wouldn’t
imagine, in being drawn to the technical vocabularies of others. I’m especially
drawn to words and phrases that are part of ordinary language (rather than the
Greek-Latin nomenclature of medicine or horticulture), especially when t...

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Lines of Desire
For a while, some years ago, I used to like to photograph
the informal tracks that were made across common ground. These tracks marked
the ground with diagrams of trajectories taken, of veerings veered and short
cuts cut. Repeated footfall had rubbed the gr...
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