Gropius Memory Palace, Ben Thorpe Brown

Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday May 26 4pm to Sunday May 27 4pm. Ontopo Catskill Zendo SS18 with Kathleen Kim, Helga Fassonaki, Jon Santos, Nelleke, Aharaw, Ai Lin, David Zuckerman, Daniel Ryan and Ben Thorp Brown. Temple Stay. Dinner and Breakfast. Dub, Techno, Group Hypnotherapy and Past Life Regression. Mushroom Foraging + more.

The retreat opens with a group dinner followed by a screening of Ben Thorp Brown’s Gropius Memory Palace and a night of performance. The film features guided hypnotherapy by Daniel Ryan, inviting viewers to construct a ‘memory palace’ as they experience Walter Gropius’s iconic Fagus Factory. The film offers an opportunity to soothe anxieties around technology’s effects on the body and workplace, and to consider the relationship between memory and architecture. The screening segues into experimental music performances by Helga Fassonaki, Kathleen Kim, David Zuckerman and Ai LIn. The night will conclude with a dance party featuring sets by D.J.s Jon Santos, Nelleke, and AHARAW.

The next morning, we will reconvene through guided meditation with the Zendo monks. Daniel Ryan will lead group hypnotherapy and past life regression accompanied by Daniel Zuckerman on synthesizer. In a panel discussion, Kathleen Kim and Helga Fassonaki will discuss the intersection of creative production and social justice advocacy. Kim, an immigrants’ rights legal scholar and experimental musician/composer, will present on the constitutional foundations of immigration law and the historical link between race and immigration. Fassonaki, a visual and performing artist, will present on her project Khal, which derives from her experience as an American artist in residence of Persian and Azeri decent in Tabriz, Iran, where women are legally restricted from public vocal performance.

Following the panel, we will embark on a guided mushroom foraging walk with Alberto H. Arensberg.

Download press release


Ben Thorp Brown makes his work with video, sculpture, and performance. His projects often address how transformations in technology and capitalism affect embodied experience and memory. His recent work has been presented in exhibitions at the St. Louis Art Museum; Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905-2016, The Whitney Museum; Greater New York MoMA PS1; 24/7 the human condition Vienna Biennale; and Chance Motives SculptureCenter. He has participated in residencies through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace program and at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX. He currently teaches in the BFA and MFA programs at Parsons The New School. His recent work has been supported by Creative Capital and the Graham Foundation.

Ann Durkin, Dharma Teacher, has been studying with Zen Master Hye Seong Sunim since 1998. She took the precepts in 2002 and was ordained in 2005. Ann’s focus is teaching the principles of Buddhism which she does at the Catskill Zendo and has a large following with her Internet teaching. Ann incorporates other practices such as Pure Land, Theravada and Metta into her teachings. Ann is a Professor teaching at a NY University

Helga Fassonaki is a Los Angeles based visual and sound artist. She recently launched untune, an artist-run dwelling, social-curatorial project space, and intimate engaging platform, with the aim to provide a place for collaboration and deconstruction of past ideas into present experience.Her solo performance project, yek koo, transverses the visual and poetic, through the exploration of space, body, amplified voice, breath, horn and rhythm, revealing the harmony and tension between sound, and physical space and matter. Her discography includes Head, recently released on Drawing Room Records, as well as solo and collaborative releases with her duo project, Metal Rouge. Metal Rouge’s Three for Malachi Ritscher album was included in the Public Collector’s exhibit in the 2014 Whitney Biennial and Experimental Sound Studio’s Audible gallery in Chicago. Fassonaki received her MFA from Elam School of Fine Art at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Kathleen Kim is a professor of law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and a nationally-recognized expert on immigrants’ rights and human trafficking. Her scholarship investigates the intersection of immigration law, workplace rights, civil rights and the 13th Amendment, and has appeared in the UCLA Law Review, Iowa Law Review and University of Chicago Law Forum, among others. Kim co-founded the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic which provides free legal services to the indigent immigrant community on the Eastside of Los Angeles. Kim is also an experimental musician and composer with a background in improvisation, avant jazz and classical theories. She has performed nationally and internationally, including the openings of the 2012 Whitney Biennial and the 2017 Venice Biennale in Dawn Kasper’s Nomadic Studio. Kim is also co-founder of Human Resources Gallery in Los Angeles, a non-profit volunteer run art space that emphasizes performative and underexposed modes of expression.

Ai Lin will leading an experiment in the “yogic potency of techno”.  Participants will be in seated zen posture practicing a simple Daoist contemplative method while Ai plays a selection of techno tracks.  The role of the participant will be to simply observe the psychophysical phenomena in the body induced by the sound while resisting the urge to move, perceiving the innate impulses in the bodily fluids and psychic substances as an impartial observer – thus the body becomes a cymatic mandala, a controlled simulation of emotional turbulence in the form of ecstasy.

Daniel Ryan is a hypnotherapist in private practice. His offices are located at the Center for Integrative Hypnosis in Chelsea where he offers hypnotherapy, regression therapy, and meditation to individuals and groups. Ryan co-founded the Center for Integrative Healing in Chatham, NJ. After years of integrating narrative archetypal journeys with creative exploration, Daniel has developed a unique process championing ethical practice alongside thought leadership into new territory.

Mary Jo Sabo, is a Dharma Teacher at Catskill Zendo. She has been studying under the tutelage of Zen Master Hye Seong Sunim since 1990. She has taken refuge, the precepts and was ordained a Dharma Teacher in 2002. Mary Jo’s focus is on various forms of meditation but mainly on mindfulness. Mary Jo stays true to Zen Buddhism. She holds a PhD in psychology and is the owner and administrator of Rockland Health and Wellness, in Suffern, New York focusing on Neurofeedback/Biofeedback.

Jon Santos is an artist working in sound, video, design and installation based in New York. He is the founder of Ontopo, an ongoing participatory performance project that explores informal learning through site-specific and cross-platform performances. Performances have been staged at The Storefront for Art and Architecture, The Wattis Institute, NADA New York 2018 and Magick City, New York. At the core of Ontopo is a series of roving site-specific gatherings for artists, focused on nurturing collective creative exchange and exploring healing as a performative practice. Santos co-founded and curated The Last Weekend performance series, along with Peter Coffin, and was formerly a member of the Circular File video art collective with Josh Kline and Anicka Yi. Santos has performed at MoMA PS1, New York; and Frieze Art Fair, London. He has co-taught, with Kamau Amu Patton, performance theory and praxis at Ox-bow School of Art, an affiliate of School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).