Speculation Nation


Goldsmiths University

Image by Paola Lesina

Not even a week has passed since we were addressing the urgent need to reconsider the understanding of 'home' in relation to the British housing crises. Following that same thread, Goldsmiths College is screening Speculation Nation (2014), a documentary set during the financial crises in Spain of 2007. The documentary digs into the fragile conditions of the housing system that after the global crises – immensely affecting the Spanish economy - has seen thousands of people loosing their homes and dozens of housing projects frozen amidst building processes, leaving entire newly-planned towns of resorts and luxury housing unfinished, frozen in time and a symbol of the reckless urban planning across the nation. Decades of institutional corruption, and hazardous bank loans have gradually brought Spain towards an unsustainable economical policy, leading to its ultimate tragic collapse. Following the crumbling reality of the crisis, Spanish citizens decided to stand up for the constitutional right that should - in theory - protect them, triggering a long series of protests and collective actions, mobilising the national and international media and seemingly moving stagnant situations into motion. When directors of Speculation Nation, Sabine Gruffat and Bill Brown, arrived in Spain to film the documentary, they found themselves in front of a social movement loudly reclaiming not merely protective regulations, but a new socio-political approach to housing. In other words, they demanded a sustainable and inclusive housing system. Travelling throughout squatted estates, inhabited mountain caves, and various make-shift spaces for collective living, the directors found more than post-crises anger and desolation. They found collectivisation and common fights. The crisis acted as a catalyst for social action.
The film addresses the very basic - yet forgotten - differences between housing and home. What constitutes the ultimate difference between the two.