Water is being called the Blue Gold of the 21st century. Due to increasing urbanization and population, shifting climates and industrial pollution, fresh water is becoming humanity’s most precious resource. Multinational Corporations are stepping in to purchase groundwater and distribution rights wherever they can and are driven to commodify what many feel is a basic human right.

Cáustico is a 5 minute clip that 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 speculative visuals for 20 years into the future. 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 in those that can afford water move closer to the ground water table by creating for themselves, luxurious subterranean dwelling units.

It aims to display the impact of the cyclical system of overdrafting aquifers by bottling water in drought conditions and forcing the formation of subsidence and sinkholes within cities. Bottled water is then an export good which further exacerbates the local condition. The combination of ozone layer depletion with the retrofitting of consequential sinkholes with built-form allows for a natural progression into subterranean living spaces. The clip is meant to evoke a provocative and biased narrative into the world of fully privatized water systems that disrupt ecological and social stability.

The narrative tests the use of World Building as an exploration into exaggerated futures of the built environment that create feedback loops of critique and inquiry into present day conditions. Thus, this visualization is not only meant to act as a medium for architectural speculation but also for architectural expression.

Joshua Dawson