29 April 2024

Marina Vishmidt, 1976-2024

(Photo: Barbara Herrenkind)


After a long illness, our comrade Marina Vishmidt left us on Friday. Her many friends and collaborators are devastated. Historical Materialism sends all our love and solidarity to her partner Danny Hayward.

Marina was an energetic and inventive writer on art and capital, gender and social reproduction, finance and media, and wide rafts of theoretical matters. Born in Kharkiv and raised in the US, Marina spent much of her life in London, taking her PhD at Queen Mary University and lecturing at Goldsmiths, before moving to Vienna in the last year. An activist across a range of campaigns and a committed anti-fascist, she was a regular speaker at Historical Materialism conferences and published her book Speculation as a Mode of Production (2018) in the HM book series. She contributed greatly to our project always enlivening discussion.

Marina was part of the wave of post-Negrian theorists in art, but there was nothing at all sectarian about her. Smart, funny, and great company, collaboration was one of her great strengths and pleasures. She regularly worked with artists contributing catalogue essays and other forms of writing to their projects and she co-authored many essays and two books: Reproducing Autonomy: Work, Money, Crisis and Contemporary Art (2016) with Kerstin Stakemeier and Media Mutandis (2006) written with Mary Anne Francis, Jo Walsh and Lewis Sykes.

It feels like there were never enough hours in the day for Marina. A prolific writer for the small publications of the art world, she also collaborated with Mute magazine; with the feminist cinema collective Cinenova; and, for a time, with Full Unemployment Cinema, screening films on work, unemployment and ‘the refusal of work’. Marina was also one of the organising team for the seminar Marxism in Culture. Often, she would arrive at these events fresh from speaking on some other platform or from a protest event, before dashing away for another. On those occasions when she could be tied done to one place, there was a great deal of laughter, involving her biting, dry wit aimed at our enemies and spiking our own foibles.

Somehow, it seems a fitting tribute that, on the day this wonderful Jewish anti-Zionist passed away, forty US universities were occupied by their students in protests aimed at Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza. Marina Vishmidt will be enormously missed, but always remembered.

We will be organising some events at the forthcoming London Historical Materialism Conference to discuss Marina’s theoretical and political work.

For her book with us:

See also this interview with her: