Picture the average contemporary art gallery, with its high walls and stagnant, silent atmosphere. Now infuse the gallery with floor-to-ceiling projections, dynamic performance art, DJ sets, fashion runways, and the spirited energy of New York nightlife. That gallery is MŌCANA. Deriving its name from the Sanskrit word for “liberation,” MŌCANA is an innovative platform that orchestrates alluring pop-up exhibitions, featuring an array of different talents and media.
Teddy Maithai is the platform’s founder and creative director, taking on the lofty task of managing an art exhibition whose artistic ventures extend well beyond the traditional confines of a white box gallery. He and his team have hosted several electrifying 12-hour events that synergize a plethora of art forms. At night, galleries become parties, fueled by a ceaseless stream of JuneShine, and illuminated by projectors and the effervescent spirit of creatives in artistic flow. In collaboration with LINES, an umbrella retail and events space, the platform has unveiled their Summer Series exhibit, set to run from August 7th to 13th. This is the world of MŌCANA, where innovation and collaboration are king.
“MŌCANA is for creatives, by creatives.”
MŌCANA’s progressively interactive elements position the platform as a guiding light for avid art enthusiasts. Teddy vehemently rejects the notion that his platform offers any run-of-the-mill art experience, one with small paintings hung on towering, sterile white walls, quiet, pretentious chatter, and the anxious feeling that others are scrutinizing your interpretation of art. On the contrary, the exhibitions immerse their audiences in a captivating artistic milieu. Projections color every inch of the venue’s white walls. DJs provide an energetic ambiance, fostering a secure environment for uninhibited conversations about the art. Pieces are created live, with creatives painting images and developing music before a live audience.
“I like authenticity, the rawness of connection. The way that people connect when they come to my events is so fun and so interactive.”
This liberating creative flow finds its channel through the platform’s core ethos, embodied by the four C’s: Collaboration, Community, Creativity, and Connection. Teddy applies these values in every minute of his curation process. His commitment to these values is evident in the Summer Series where he has assembled an artistically diverse set of creatives. One of those artists is Carolina Trinker, a knitwear and textile designer whose “Embryø” exhibit will be featured at LINES. When faced with Trinker’s tremendous talent, Teddy pondered, “How do I make it “MŌCANA?” How do I make it interactive? I suggested having performance artists dance in the pieces, and she loved the idea.” As the platform’s curator, Teddy sees himself as much of an artist as those featured in the exhibitions. His ongoing objective is to inspire them to innovate and experiment further with form. The outcome is something wholly original in the spirit of MŌCANA.
In an exclusive conversation with Teddy, he delves deeper into the magic of the platform, shedding light on his distinctive curation process and unveiling the highly collaborative nature of MŌCANA as a collective of creatives.
JA: What sets the Summer Series apart from the past events that you've done?
TM: The other events I’ve done have only been 12 hours - 4p to 4a. This one's different. We had 800 people come for MŌCANA Vol. 2, and it was a good crowd volume. But we just thought, “That's amazing. We know we can do this. But let's shrink it down, I want to focus more on the connection and show the artwork for longer.”
JA: What do you want to show? It seems like it's pushing the label, with very new and contemporary styles of art. Is that something you look for?
TM: With the artwork that I'm showing, I considered, “Do I see people liking this in a way that is interactive? Do I like the visuals, the message?” The message itself is important, but It doesn’t “make-or-break it”. For me, you don't need to have the most depth or the most creative message you're trying to portray. It's about thinking in the mind of people who come into space, and their first impression. The first thing that gets people attracted is something visually pleasing. Visuals are something that's quite important for me.
JA: What is it about those visuals that you’re attracted to?
TM: The biggest component is colors. With MŌCANA, you can see that we’re very colorful, with this gradient look. We love liquid colors. Each creative is a color, but the colors are flowing and bonding together. There's countless amounts of creatives, but it's always this flow connecting them...There are an infinite amount of colors. And there are infinite creative ways of thinking.
Teddy’s departure from New York at the end of the month marks the beginning of an enthralling journey. While he plans to continue managing the company in New York from afar, he also aims to spread the platform’s colorful creativity and collaboration internationally. He dreams of a worldwide community, stretching from his roots in Thailand, to the vibrant art landscapes of London, Amsterdam, and beyond. By expanding its horizons, MŌCANA will continue to connect creatives, painting the world with an infinite palette of liquid colors.
Connect with MŌCANA on: Instagram
Connect with Teddy on: Instagram