The video by Joshua Dawson envisions a world in which the water privatization generates a vertical stratification in the Generic City of 2036 between the haves and have-nots.

Increasing urbanization, shifting climates and pollution makes 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 and 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. Wherein those that can afford water move closer to the underground water table by creating for themselves, luxurious subterranean dwelling units.

Joshua Dawson, Cáustico, 2016. Sinkhole
Joshua Dawson, Cáustico, 2016. Upper city, sinkhole
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.
Joshua Dawson, Cáustico, 2016. Lower city dwelling
Joshua Dawson, Cáustico, 2016. Lower city dwelling


Joshua Dawson (1990) is an Indian born Los Angeles based Architectural Designer and World Builder whose work has been widely published and exhibited. He received his Masters in Advanced Architectural Studies at the University of Southern California where he trained under Hollywood Production Designer Alex McDowell, RDI. Joshua’s work aims to re-imagine the built environment through inter-disciplinary design thinking and narrative visualization.

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