Marina Vishmidt - Entropy and Atrophy: Non-Identity in Non-Essential Infrastructure


06.12.2022, 19:00 CET

HS II , Rechbauerstraße 12, 8010 Graz and online 


This talk  combined a consideration of canonical Land Art writings on entropy, mainly by Robert Smithson, with ideas from recent criticism on the energetic nexus between Land Art and NFTs as the production of voids. Taken beyond the aesthetic, these writings point to nature as a capitalist infrastructure of extraction, as discussed in the political ecology of writers such as Jason Moore. This encompasses social relations since this is an extractivism that is also always about reproducing nature in the social through de-valued identity categories, such as gender and race, and is premised on the extraction of unpaid labour. For architectural practice, the political implications of this can be both negative (interference, sabotage) and constructive, as in the emergent scholarship on 'urban mining' (Wikstrom) as well as labour issues in architecture that are currently the site of organising by groups such as Section of Architectural Workers (UVW-SAW) in the UK. Such attempts to short-circuit and re-distribute valorisation processes in the building sector will then be brought back around to the original point about energy and the need to operate with the non-identical as a critical category that is, in Adorno's words, 'immanent contradiction as an expression of social reality' which can help to sharpen rather than diffuse our practical and pedagogical options.


Marina Vishmidt  is a writer and editor, teaching at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her writing has appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, Artforum, Afterall, e-flux journal, and Radical Philosophy, among others. She is currently editing a reader on speculation for the Documents of Contemporary Art series (forthcoming in 2022). With Kerstin Stakemeier she is co-author of Reproducing Autonomy: Work, Money, Crisis and Contemporary Art (2016) and her book Speculation as a Mode of Production: Forms of Value Subjectivity in Art and Capital was published in 2018.

Marina Vishmidt