Maria Molteni (she/they), born 1983, is a queer multimedia artist, educator, organizer, beekeeper and former competitive athlete. With interests spanning shipwreck to Sirens, 16th Century tennis to radical Apiculture, Shaker & Spiritualist communes, she often imagines herself as psychic P.E. Coach at Black Mountain College or the Bauhaus. Molteni aims to facilitate aesthetic, harmonious, and innovative collisions between unexpected points of interest and identities to highlight the shape-shifting nature of collective consciousness. From fiber to found-object sculpture, participation to movement, performance to publication, she uses tactile and tactical ritual to manifest elaborate conceptual, intuitive, site-specific, social magic. Using grassroots & DIY creative projects as tools, Molteni's work has been replicated internationally by organizers and educators alike, particularly under the influence of the New Craft Artists in Action (NCAA) collective she founded in 2010.
Molteni embraces pop culture in contemporary iterations of spirituality and the occult, often adopting the term Neon Catholic or Craftletic to describe her cultural roots and aesthetic. Interested in the relationship between industry, magic and resistance, she challenges the hypnotic opiate termed “innovation” through which gentrification and high capitalism exorcise the soul from its vibrant cities.
Since living on the East Coast and traveling to Croatia and the Philippines, Molteni has developed a passion for aquatic ecosystems, coastal spectronomy, and island lore. In 2016 she co-released the film A Visitor’s Guide to Reorientation on Spectacle Island, recontextualizing the myth of the Sirens as alarm systems and vertigo-relieving fledgelings (with collaborators Sue Murad & Hermione Spriggs). Her essay Revolving Spectrum: The Art of Spiritual Cohabitation was published in Binder Magazine, exploring the Southern tradition using Haint Blue lime/milk paints to reckon with household ghosts. Another essay A History of Basketball and the Tactile and Tactical Liberation of Recreation appears in Net Works outlines histories of basketball, evangelism, city planning and resistance in the context of craft and social justice.