Joya: AiR / Caz Watson / UK
“As a ‘new genre’ public artist, my work and research explores what motivates and sustains public engagement with social and environmental issues. Through my MFA at Brighton Uni, I developed public schemes which raised awareness for pressing concerns within the local and wider community.
My most recent work, The Home Project, explored how we define home in our contemporary, urban state of constant movement, change and flux. The general public and specific environmentalists, artists and activists worldwide were invited to offer their definition of ‘home’ for the project. The first fifty entries were published in a book for my Degree Show, and the project acts as an ongoing database of thought, continuing to collect definitions from across the world. The project includes words from individuals spanning four continents, and drew contributions from leading environmentalists such as David Karoly, member of the Climate Change Authority, and inspiring individuals such as Jackson Hinkle, who was recently arrested with 150 other young activists for protesting climate policy in Washington DC.
My other Degree Show project, PACT, focused on the plastic pollution crisis locally in Brighton. Staged initially as an event on Brighton’s seafront, with the support of beach-clean charity SAS, PACT invited the community to agree to a ‘pact’ to collect and recycle 5 pieces of plastic on a given day. In its initial form, PACT drew over 300 participants who recycled 1500 pieces of plastic within the space of one week.
The residency at Joya: AiR has given me a unique opportunity to research new projects and ideas, informed by the environmental concerns affecting Los Gázquez. With limited water resources in the desert area, the residency inspired me to research the worldwide water crisis, and to plan a new scheme focused around raising awareness for water consumption. At home in the UK, it is easy to think of water as an infinite resource - we simply turn on a tap and it’s there at our fingertips. But with 700 million people living in areas of water scarcity today, and a projected 4 billion living with water scarcity by 2050, it’s an issue that requires attention, awareness and action.
My experience at Joya: AiR has opened my eyes to new ideas and approaches, surrounded by brilliant, supportive and exciting creatives of all disciplines. I spent most days walking through the surrounding forests and hills, thinking hard about what the coming year could hold, mulling over research and evaluating ideas.
It has really been the best experience I could have asked for - something I desperately needed right after you’re thrown out of the education system at high-speed! I feel more clarity than I have before, and I know it won’t be long before I’m back”.