Speculation as a Mode of Production

Forms of Value Subjectivity in Art and Capital


In Speculation as a Mode of Production: Forms of Value Subjectivity in Art and Capital, Marina Vishmidt offers a new perspective on one of the main categories of capitalist life in the historical present. Writing not under the shadow but in the spirit of Adorno’s negative dialectic, her work pursues speculation through its contested terrains of philosophy, finance, and art, to arrive at the most detailed analysis that we now possess of the role of speculation in the shaping of subjectivity by value relations. Featuring detailed critical discussions of recent tendencies in the artistic representation of labour, and a brilliant reconstruction of the philosophical concept of the speculative from its origins in German Romanticism, Speculation as a Mode of Production is an essential, widescreen theorisation of capital’s drive to self-expansion, and an urgent corrective to the narrow and one-sided periodisations to which it is most commonly subjected.

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Marina Vishmidt is a writer and editor. She teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London, and is the co-author of Reproducing Autonomy (with Kerstin Stakemeier) (Mute, 2016).
'Breaking with the boosterism and banality that so often accompany discussions of art and capital, Marina Vishmidt brings an impressive command over contemporary debates and a truly dialectical sensitivity to bear on the transformations that artistic practice has undergone in our speculative times.'
-- Alberto Toscano, Reader in Critical Theory, co-author of Cartographies of the Absolute

'An astonishingly lucid account of the way in which neoliberalism operates, inscribing the logic of a barely mediated labour-capital relationship into the intimate recesses of subject formation.'
-- Jaleh Mansoor, Associate Professor of Art History, The University of British Columbia
Preface Acknowledgements
Introduction: Speculation as a Mode of Production in Art and Capital  1 Introduction  2 Speculation as Method  3 How Does Art Speculate?  4 Is There a Speculative Mode of Production?  5 Chapter Outline
1 Speculation: The Subjectivity of Re-structuring and Re-structuring Subjectivity  1 Speculation in the Negative  2 Speculative Subjects  3 Fetishism and the Production of Subjectivity  4 Speculation or Real Subsumption  5 To Human is Capital  6 Human Capital and Art  7 Speculation and Abstract Labour: An Abstract  8 Self-Appreciation?  9 From Self to Species-Being  10 Value Equals Zero
2 Topologies of Speculation: The Tenses of Art, Labour and Finance  1 ‘Counterproductive’ and Abstract Labour  2 Autonomy in Generalised Speculation  3 Speculation and Contingency  4 What is an ‘Absolute Contingency’?  5 Futures and the Future  6 Art as Counterproductive Labour  7 Invisible Labour  8 Visible Finance  9 Conclusion
3 Aesthetic Speculations and Antagonisms  1 Is Art Working?  2 Real Subsumption  3 Negative Composition  4 The Specialist of Non-Specialism  5 Negate Here  6 The Critique of the Power of Judgement and the Critique of the Powers of Art: Kantian Interlude
4 Whatever Indicator: Indeterminacy, Judgement, and Putting the Speculative to Work  1 Introduction  2 The Name of Art  3 To Be Done with the Judgement of Art  4 Counter-Artistic Production  5 Whatever Indicator  6 Reproductive Potentiality  7 Subhuman Capital  8 Artist Placement Group – Incidental Person, or Negation of the Artist?  9 Excursus on Use-Value  10 Artistic Communism – A Speculative Gesture  11 Art – Departure or Destination?
Conclusion: Whither Speculation?  1 One More Time If You Would Be Useless  2 Trajectories of the Generic  3 Prognostic Coda
Bibliography Index
All interested in contemporary art, theories of capital, philosophical approaches to speculation, the politics of finance and subjectivation.
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