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MARIAH WRIGHT, using design to reflect on what is around us

Words by Meritxell Rosell

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In times when our environment feels threatened, designers look, interpret, question and speculate about novel improved futures. For Mariah Wright, her explorations lay at the core of life itself – food and DNA.

Having graduated last year from the Material Futures department at Central Saint Martins in London, Wright uses her designs to reflect on what is around us. Her graduation project Crop Constructs is a research project exploring the contribution of increasing genetically manipulated food crops for our future societies. Taking ten of the world’s most used plants, she re-imagines a new genetically engineered future for them.

The project brings to light the concept of genetic manipulation, which is often reviled by the media. It also emphasises the urgent demand for research into new ideas surrounding bio-engineered food production. The work of Mariah Wright, and others like her, may help us to bring these urgent needs into reality.

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What is more important: to take or not to take yourself too seriously in order to be creative?

Working in the creative industry, at least in my option, requires an intense balance between playfulness and seriousness. In my experience, making work is a very focused and ruminative process. I get a lot of joy and energy from the work I do however, which is something I feel strongly about being able to share with my audience.

Solitude or loneliness, how do you spend your time alone?

I’m an introvert by nature so enjoy spending time alone. In my design work conversely, I find I am increasingly interested in collaborative work as a way of embracing new ways of thinking and making. Because my practice is very research-based, Its very important to engage with a network of people who have experience and expertise outside my own.

Who or what was the last person, place or thing that fascinated you?

I recently went to a lecture at Second Home given by Dallas Campbell on the history and technology of space suit design. In addition to the wildly suspenseful issue of ensuring early astronauts would be safe on the moon, Campbell also highlighted the bazaar fashion history that accompanied the space craze.

I was delighted to find that Playtex sempstresses, who normally spent their days sewing bras and underpants, were called in by NASA to make the suits for the moon in 1969.

What’s your favourite time of the day?

I enjoy mornings best. I like to walk in the mornings and use the time to organize my thoughts.

One for the road… What are you unafraid of?

I’m not afraid of much. Last week I saw a person get bit by a snake though- thats made me think twice about snakes…

(All photos courtesy of the artist)
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