Joshua Dawson

Increasing urbanization, shifting climates and pollution make fresh water humanity’s most precious resource. Multinational corporations are stepping in to purchase groundwater and distribution rights wherever they can and are commodifying what many feel is a basic human right.

Cáustico uses curated archived news footage from 2014 & 2015 on issues of water privatization, climate change and groundwater mining as voice-over narration, while projecting resultant visuals set 20 years from now.

Post water-privatization, by a company called Turquoise, a vertical stratification occurs in the Generic City of 2036 between the haves and have-nots, where those who can afford water move closer to the underground water table by creating luxurious subterranean dwelling units for themselves.

It documents the impact of over-drafting aquifers by bottling water in drought conditions and forcing the formation of subsidence and sinkholes within cities. Bottled water is then exported, which further exacerbates the local condition. The combination of ozone layer depletion with the retrofitting of consequential sinkholes through built-form and cooling towers, allows for a natural progression into underground spaces. Through a biased narrative, the film aims to extrapolate exaggerated futures of the built environment that could create feedback loops of critique and inquiry into present-day conditions.