2008. Todo por la praxis. SPECULATOR + EMPTY WORLD (2008.01 / project review / technical data)



2.1. Empty World Housing Real Estate Agency

The real estate market is in “crisis” after almost a decade of obscene profits. The majority of “small amateur agencies”, created for fast money are closing. In this “recession” we find that it’s appropriate to create our own Antagonist Agency. With that end in mind we have created a real estate agency to put empty housing in-the-market; this agency is called: Empty World-Housing Real Estate Agency. The first office will “open” in the Total Liquidation in Madrid Abierto 08. Functioning as a common agency, in the Total Liquidation showcase will have the archetypical image of traditional agencies and empty houses will be offered to potential tenants through the Catalogue of available houses in the neighbourhood. In the agency the future tenant will find the necessary counselling to obtain the rent of their apartment: Location and conditions of the apartment, Access Handbook and Assignment of Contact and housing use, etc.


2.2. Virtual-Catalogue Registration

The first requirement to start the agency is to have a “list of properties” to offer our clients. To obtain houses for rent we have decided to create a section in the web ( to collect information with an active participation tool that enables the creation of a Virtual Registration to obtain information on empty real estate (uninhabited) detailing their characteristics (location, state of the apartment, square meters, number of rooms, information about the owner, etc.), on the other hand, offering the possibility of showing this information in a way that the user can find the empty houses with a personal tracker. Our agency uses the method that many other real estate companies use. The main idea is that detournement is still a highly effective tool in the context of fictional democracies. Our Virtual-Catalogue Registration is a tool that intends to show the essential contradiction of the capitalist market; to prove the role that as product-good the house assumes in the real estate market, drifting away from social use that supposedly is one of its features. In the fictional welfare state, where there are more than THREE million empty houses, the great majority of Spanish workers have to pay a mortgage for the rest of their lives.


2.3. Physical Signalling

To signpost is a way to “mark”, to limit access. Just as the other agencies, our agency needs to be visible, needs to signal those houses that “belong to all of us”. For that purpose we will invite neighbours to carry out a campaign to mark – using stickers with the Empty World logo – the empty houses in the neighbourhoods. The goal is to limit space, a way to “enter” the inner circle in which agents of gentrification defining ourselves as an opposing force able to potentially abolish them, move them form their ruling position inside the territory of urban space administration. As we have already shown.


2.4. Transfer of Operating Contract

In a codified society everything has to be regulated with a “basic” capitalist formula: the Contract. In our case, the proposal of a Contract intends to prove that the Public Administration and different private entities are responsible for introducing empty housing in the market, in those neighbourhoods/cities that suffer serious needs in living conditions. This is nothing but a mere work hypothesis that, although it would involve different judicial and political agents, is not, to us, probable in the current correlations of forces. In fact, the present project suggests the need for legislative reforms that (as it already happens in Catalonia, with the Housing Act) prove its viability in a new and necessary social scenario. We need to pressure the different Administrations to adopt, with minimum social and legal guarantees, the regulations that have been adopted in Catalonia on the issue of empty houses. It obviously isn’t a solution, but it’s a start, a legal precedent that must be widened. We need speculators, the gentrifying agents, to be limited in their “privileges” and submit to the logic of the Social State. Our idea of contract is not to “transform” a document (lacking any legal validity) into a “propaganda” device, but to represent, and symbolically demand, the need to “regulate” a market that is in the hands of speculative capitalist agents: A simulated Contract that involves the legal mechanisms for a possible real Contract.


2.5. Locksmith Handbook for beginners

The majority of real estate agencies used the “key in hand” slogan as an advertising ploy. Obviously, we, keep, “renting” off plan. The precariousness of the project forces us to leave the offered house’s access in hands of the tenant. But we can’t afford to give them only the “kick on the door” resource. We sought the help of other groups that have dealt with similar situations and found Okupasa. They will give “new/future tenants” two tools; The Handbook and the participation in a Workshop where they will explain, as “experts”, the 12 possible forms of accessing a home (which appear in the Handbook)

      1. The wire method. 2. Drill a cylinder. 3. Opening card. 4. Sliding sheets TGF. 5. Multipick Hood. 6. Extracting the rotor. 7. Cylinder method. 8. Extract a ring. 9. Picking and Racking. 10. Knock key. 11. Cut padlock. 12. Trap measurer.


2.6. Franchise

The Franchise method we use is new version of the virus-cell idea that was developed by the self-managed workers movement of the Twentieth Century: each context is different and needs different tactics. For a further development of EW on a larger scale we have defined an “Action Protocol” based on the general principles of Copyleft. You can’t acquire EW franchises, we can only reproduce EW, everyone can access EW’s methodological contents in the website ( and establish an Empty World Housing Real Estate Agency“office”. But first he must accept the “Action Protocol” and subscribe in the website. The idea is for EW to swiftly expand as a mutating virus that adapts to the organism’s circumstances. By creating franchises in this way that, apart from obtaining material in the website, generate new tools to be passed on freely through the Web, reinforcing the project. It is a way to let the social intellect work by itself around the EW concept. Social creativity doesn’t have formal limits and can redefine any project in real life. The franchises, real “autonomous commandos”, are EW’s social foundation, its strength is the expression of the project’s social potential.


2.7. Audiovisual Document. (Interviews)

Interviews as opinion polls are a social construction method of reality. In general when someone is interviewed the process is conducted with the intention of obtaining answers that the interviewer wants or needs. Our intention was to avoid that trend of indirect manipulation using the “open interview” model. The main goal was to analyze the territory to find “friction areas” in the social network of urban areas in which we intended to work. Therefore, we had to let the neighbours speak. The questionnaire was structured on three levels; Neighbours, shopkeepers, and social agents (neighbour associations, social movements, experts, etc). All had to interact with the questionnaire in a friendly way, and therefore, the interview couldn’t be taken to uncomfortable territories. The questionnaire was extended or reduced depending on discard questions, making people feel as comfortable as possible. The postproduction and editing work has followed that same track, trying to contextualize questions and making each discursive detail visible on every interview. The final result is a piece of audiovisual material that is “exhibited” in the Empty Housing Real Estate Agency as part of EW’s visual and social communication campaign. In it you can observe the contradictions that any gentrification process creates on a specific social structure. While owners/shopkeepers find it a positive transformation, neighbours keep demanding for traditional needs as infrastructures, services, etc., the social agents continue asking for social and political-institutional changes. The Audiovisual Document basically wants to show, with certain undeniable influences from British free cinema, how a community is structured in a constant and daily working progress in which each life world finds a legitimating discourse to protect its needs and interests.


2.8. Sessions

There is no action without theory. This obvious remark is the motor of the “Posturban scenarios: empty housing and gentrification”. The sessions will be organized around the gentrification phenomenon and real estate speculation (check Empty World Sessions) and its objective is to discuss the different topics surrounding speculation, gentrification and urban segregation. In order to do this, the participation programme has tried to cover different fields in connection with the subject inviting researchers and activists from different fields and disciplines. The programme is structured in three conference-debate sessions with three representatives of each of those points of view. The need to discuss the phenomenon from the architectonic, sociological, artistic point of view, etc., is why we adopt this plan. With the intention of using the results of these three work sessions in the antagonist movement and rest of open fronts created by EW, we will try to edit a publication with all the information.


Madrid 2008

- The Speculator image is projected as “overture” of Empty World-Madrid. (7/2/08).

- Opening-Presentation Act of Empty Housing Real State Agency -EW. (Total Clearance Sale. 7th of February  2008)

- Project presentation Madrid abierto. 17:00-18:15 Friday 8th of February. Casa Encendida. Ronda de Valencia Nº2

- Activation of the Virtual Registration in (8/2/08)

- Start off  Physical Signalling of Empty Houses.(CCSS. 9/2/08)

- Posturban scenarios: Empty housing y Gentrification. (Conferences: 20, 21 y 22nd of February 2008, Total Clearance Sale.)

- Speculator party. 22.00h. 22nd of February 2008 (Conde de vista Hermosa Nº 3 Local G  Metro Marques de Vadillo)

- Workshop:Locksmith Handbook for beginners”. (Date and time yet to be defined)


Posturban scenarios: Empty housing and gentrification.


Thursday 21st, Friday 22nd y Saturday 23rd.
Liquidación Total.
C/San Vicente Ferrer 23 Local 2
Metro Tribunal. Madrid.

T-21.18:00 h-21:00 h.

  • Presentation Empty World (Neighbourhood Assoc. Malasaña – Acibu)
  • Basurama. (Urban Action)
  • Group (Sustainable unity)
  • Andrés Jaque. (Architect. ETSAM Project teacher)

F-22.18:00 h-21:00 h.

  • Fernando Roch.  (Professor of Urbanism ETSAM )
  • Francisco Gil. (Praxis Cooperative)
  • Democracia. ( Welfare State)           

S-23.18:00 h-21:00 h.

  • V de Vivienda. (Popular assembly for housing rights)
  • Patio Maravillas.
  • Jordi Claramonte - Fiambrera Obrera. ( Okupasa)
  • Santiago Cirugeda. (Architect)

S-30.18:00 h-21:00 h.

  •  Empty World Workshop. 

(January 2008)