Mortgaged Lives
Vidas Hipotecadas

By Ada Colau and Adrià Alemany
English Translation by Michelle Teran

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Obra Social Manual
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The Obra Socal (Social Work) Manual
On the tactics of recuperating houses- a direct action how-to.

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Mortgaged Lives Film from Michelle Teran on Vimeo.

Mortgaged Live from Michelle Teran on Vimeo.

Mortgaged Lives.
Street Action by the PAH, Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca.

Denounce power
Bertolt Brecht once wrote that whoever intends to fight lies and ignorance must overcome, at the very least, five difficulties. First, one should have the courage to write the truth, despite the measures others take to stifle it. One should possess, moreover, the intelligence in order to find the truth in the midst of noise and manipulation. One should, at the same time, master the art of making truth a weapon. One must present, in the fourth place, the ability to target those who will use that weapon most effectively. Finally, one should possess the cunning means to spread this weapon among them. Judging by these words, it’s very likely that Brecht would have smiled gratefully, if he had gotten his hands on this book.

Mortgaged Lives is, before everything else, a courageous book. It’s a book that bursts in without asking permission, just at the moment when the same powers who created the crisis try to establish their own impunity and place blame on the most vulnerable. It is no easy task to denounce power, to catch it in fraganti covering its own tracks and trying to diminish its responsibility, much less when done using the first and last names, as they occur throughout these pages.
from the Introduction to Mortgaged Lives


The right to housing has been systematically violated: difficulty in accessing housing, despite being a fundamental right, now holds back hundreds of thousands of families who demand a fairer mortgage system.

Written by two of the founders of the PAH, Mortgaged Lives explains the causes, points to those responsible for the Spanish mortgage crisis and its broader situation. Ada and Adrià analyze the role of the public administration, Moveover they reveals the fights carried out by the PAH through first-person accounts, and offers advice and useful resources for defending the right to housing and avoiding abuses of power by the banks and financial institutions.


Ada Colau and Adrià Alemany
Prologues by Gerard Pisarello and José Coy
(0riginal Spanish version published by Cuadrilatero de Libros, Barcelona, 2012) (Spanish download here)

English translation published by The Journal of Aesthetics& Protest 2014

Mortgaged Lives is a translation project initiated by artist Michelle Teran.

Joaap would like to thank curator Elke Krasny for originally facilitating this project.