Ocean plastic transformed into striking artwork in Sydney

CoS Wasteland - photo by Katherine GriffithsAn art installation comprised of 2,255 orange spheres made from 120 kilograms of ocean debris will be suspended from the ceiling of Customs House throughout October.

Presented as part of the annual Art & About Sydney program, Wasteland is produced by creative studio Mundane Matters, and makes a powerful statement about how human consumption impacts the environment.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the artwork is a call-to-action for everyone to reduce their waste. “Art provides a powerful platform to draw attention to the crisis caused by plastic choking our oceans,” said the Lord Mayor. “We are proud to be a national leader when it comes to managing waste sustainably and we need residents, visitors and businesses to commit to the cause too.”

“I am sure Wasteland will inspire many to think about the devastating impact that plastic has on our environment and encourage them to find practical ways of reducing their own impact.”

Mundane Matters creative director Danling Xiao said she was inspired to produce the artwork by a conservation experiment in Costa Rica, where 12,000 tonnes of orange peels were dumped on a desolate site, resulting in a vibrant forest two decades later.

“I thought this was an incredible example of how items we waste can transform our environment positively,” said Ms Xiao. “I wanted to recreate this by recycling ocean plastic, which is now one of the biggest environmental problems in the world.”

Mundane Matters worked with Eco Barge, an organisation that recovers ocean plastic near the Great Barrier Reef. They’ve collected more than 180,000 kg over the last nine years and saved more than 80 turtles.

Around 120 kg of debris was used for the project – a mix of plastic bottle lids, plastic bottle necks, a broken chair, a broken kettle and micro-plastics, which are harmful to marine life. The material was grinded down then melted with some virgin plastic before being moulded to form the artwork.

Mundane Matters design digital media and experiences aimed at inspiring positive environmental and social change. The studio has received global attention via social media for a series of fruit and vegetable sculptures raising awareness of food waste.

Wasteland is part of the City of Sydney’s year-round Art & About program of events and temporary art projects in unusual spaces throughout the city.

Customs House, 31 Alfred Street, Sydney
Installation continues to Sunday 28 October 2018
Free admission

For more information, visit: www.artandabout.com.au for details.

Image: Danling Xiao and Wasteland (installation view) – photo by Katherine Griffiths