hannes bend – metaNoYa (2016) / Floor A Grootenhuis

metaNoYa is an interactive collaborative performance that takes place in the natural environment of the streets with the communities of Jamaica, Queens. metaNoYa is inspired by the ancient Greek word μετάνοια (metánoia). This refers to psychological rebuilding or “healing.” It is a compound of μετά (metá, “after, with”) and νοέω (noéō, “to perceive, to think”), and means to change one’s mind, place or nature, and purpose.

Is this possible for those living on the edges of society? Those whom we have given up on? hannes bend has a scientifically creative art practice that merges processes from diverse disciplines, including technology and philosophy, to gain insights into understanding human happiness. He aims to create an open, free, interactive and communal practice. His experiential research tests this by using mindfulness, yoga, and meditation, as well as the techniques of contemplation such as the Wim Hof Method (WHM), Vipassana, Tonglen, and Tummo. hannes is curious how these methods can provide support for those who live on the edge of society. His passion is driven by his personal experience of transformation. Applying these techniques to his own life has helped him recover from and deal with childhood cerebral palsy, a birth trauma.

During the period of Jamaica Flux: Workspaces & Windows 2016, hannes bend aims to organize four mini-retreats for 5–8 participants for five days and four nights. metaNoYa is collaboration between hannes, the participants of the retreats, Jamaica YMCA, the community in the sharing economy (such as Couch Surfing, kindista, OurGoods and Craigslist – online networks where time, skills, and resources are shared in kind – there is no money involved), and people on the street who interact with each group.The streets of Jamaica will be the environment for the retreats. As a retreat participant you will receive an opportunity to experiment with current and ancient traditions of mindfulness, meditation, and contemplation. Reflection and contemplation and the impact of these practices on the body, emotions, and sense of self are essential to the work. They are open to anyone who is curious to immerse themselves in an unconventional learning format. hannes is interested in engaging people who are homeless, going through transition and may have destructive attachment patterns, or who have behavioral or mental disorders. He facilitates these retreats to support increased happiness, stronger health, and love.

metaNoYa builds on ongoing scientific research on the potential positive impacts on the health of the body (immune system) and reduction of stress levels by practicing these meditation methods. With Shawn Slater (University of Oregon), Robert Alexander, and Bella Shah (both University of Michigan) hannes has developed a mindful Virtual Reality (VR) device. This is a wearable biofeedback device that uses a person’s pulse combined with a VR headset. The device generates images that the viewer can experience in real time that reflect their current state of calm/stress, based on their heart rate. This will be a component of his piece.

The ongoing explorations of science show that what we perceive in the world is only a small element of what there is. hannes is leading us through an experiment where we connect our brains and experiences, to our immune and nervous systems. He researches how we can incorporate new habits and create a different perception of what is possible with our body. hannes invites us to participate, experiment, and have fun through intense exploration of what we actually need to be happy as people. Life is impermanent and in flux. hannes suggests that a less rigid sense of self, territory, and ownership might be beneficial for insights, unity, integration, peace, and happiness. This comes full circle to the notion of metaNoYa – changing our mind, our attitude, and perspective, ultimately transforming the wellbeing of people and our planet.


Floor A Grootenhuis