Every now and then, we come across a luminary who bridges not two, but several disciplines, in passionate pursuit of a noble objective.
Presenting Danling Xiao, a woman on a mission for something much bigger than a piece, or even collection of creative work. The designer/writer who calls Sydney home is the moving force behind Mundane Matters, a “sustainability-driven art and design practice” advocating for waste elimination, ethical eating and use of renewable energy.
Xiao’s mantra is simple and is best explained in her own words:
“Design for people. Creating user-centred brand experience is my passion. With a futuristic vision and psychological approach, I deliver creative solutions to meet businesses’ needs, offer strategic branding package to help start-ups thrive, but most importantly, create design that improves life.”
Today we shine a light on her quirky creations, which are essentially sculptures made from food accompanied by her musings on various not-so-mundane matters. Take a look at some of our favourites:
Octopus ??/// I don't normally eat banana because theoretically banana is not suitable for my cold body, also most bananas are tasteless. The only exception is this one from my farmers market. It tastes like bananas. Melts my heart. ? • On another note: the world's cephalopod population (squid, octopus and cuttlefish) is booming despite of extreme climate and overfishing – in fact, the extreme sea tempretures seem to thrive them. Take the jumbo squid for example – they grow 10 times their normal size during El Niño and La Niña! Or the Antarctic octopuses – they are able to transport oxegen in their blood in the freezing tempretures in the Southern Occean. • What can we learn from cephalopods ie. nature? ?#mundanematters #biomimicry
Xiao seeks “to inspire sustainable creative living,” and her work is always simple yet thought-provoking.
“The daily practice is to create one piece of fruit and vegetable sculpture, accompanied with writing, tapping into issues such as organic farming, ethical eating and animal protection. All sculptures are eaten after photographed,” writes Xiao on her site.
This superwoman leaves no stone unturned, even dabbling in urban planning.
Igloos. /// Housing – What if it is just about having a roof to shelter our very basic needs? What if it brings back the joy and chatters of the community? Have we all, gone too far? • I am very lucky to be able to support @saveoursirius in their campaigns, donate my Sirius print named 'A Beauty to Last' and volunteer to look after the exhibition today. It was also an honour, to meet the 91-year old Myra, one of the two remaining residents in the Sirius Tower, and explained to her all the artworks because she can't see. • I have heard bitter comments about Sirius's social housing residents being able to enjoy the harbour view while others have to pay million dollars to buy a property with a harbour view. If they have known that Myra is blind, they would hopefully understand that for these residents, it is not about the view or location whatsoever. It is the community that they have been building and breathing in, that matters to them the most. • I was full of optimism when I came out of the National Trust today, as Margaret Bishop (one of @saveoursirius organisers) said, 'There is hope, don't give up.' And I want to tell you one more thing – when I explained Margaret's painted portrait of Myra, I told her, 'Margaret painted your eyes really beautifully. Your gaze is so strong. It looks like you are looking into the future.' Myra said to me, 'Yes. Always.' #saveoursirius
Dedicate this dutch carrot 'palm tree' to bringing awareness to the deforestation of palm trees. /// I have complex feelings every time I pick up a 'biodegradable' plastic bag, which could be possibly made from palm oil (need to investigate). I respect that more and more businesses are opting for green options, but I think we should question more about how things are produced, or how is it really going to work (to biodegrade the bag is another complicated process, and in fact, not many get biodegraded). /// Indonesia is being deforested faster than any other country in the world, and it has everything to do with one product: palm oil. Large areas of tropical forests and other ecosystems with high conservation values have been cleared to make room for oil palm plantations, essentially killing the biodiversity of the ecosystems that they replace. It is estimated that over 50 orangutan are killed every week due to deforestation. ? /// Besides opting for green options, what we can do also, is to encourage people to use less and live frugally. ?✨ #mundanematters (Note: I had a big week so I am off social media to rest for the weekend ??)
“This project completely changes the way I approach food. I cannot believe it was me when I think about the days when I was working full-time. I’d say I had quite a healthy diet, but I never questioned where the produce came from, how much energy and labor it took to produce them, or how much waste it lost from the farm to our table, not to mention how much chemicals and hormones we were taking indirectly from the food we eat,” she told Mother Nature Network in an interview.
Not only does Xiao “play” with food, but she also dishes out facts:
Slow and steady wins the race. ??? /// In a life of seemingly endless work yet to be done, it is the best to take it slowly. Listen to peaceful music, meditate, breathe, do yoga, share beautiful time with friends and family (in my case, thanks to Nico @coolasafoxau and Richard @sydneycool and @yuvi_thu @andrewhardjasudarma @roomten_ this week), eat good food, laugh, play with your pet. What wins is your heart. ❤️? #mundanematters
For the full interview with MNN, click the link below: