Born into the dual diaspora of the Philippines and Ireland, Carol Anne McChrystal is a Los Angeles-based artist and designer. Her materially-driven sculpture and videos work through chemical processes and labor-intensive hand-making to explore the legacy of colonialism and trade, as well as the ways in which the climate catastrophe has compounded these histories of inequity. Inhabiting the tension between Earth’s immense history and the absurdly mundane everyday experience of plastic and labor, her practice consolidates painstakingly hand-made and mass-produced consumables in order to pry open a speculative space in which to resist the means-ends rationale of late capitalism.
Her practice has recently been focused on banig weaving—an ancestral practice that has its roots as much in utility as it does in beauty and aesthetics. For hundreds of years, the art form has been passed along from mother to daughter, and has traditionally been a way for indigenous Filipinos to create in community. Historically woven from the readily available leaves of the pandan palm and used primarily for sleeping, banig are considered to be the most basic form of shelter. Her take on the banig references a migrant workforce and threatened economic stability in the wake of increasing and intensifying global ecological disaster. The use of instant noodle wrappers, plastic labels and other discarded plastics invokes the gesture of using what’s readily available in the immediate environment and the resourcefulness ethos of doing the best you can with what you’ve got.