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Interview: Marina Heintze's Autopoietic Systems

Interview: Marina Heintze's Autopoietic Systems

Tell us about yourself, how did you become an artist?

I was born an artist.
With the help of familial artist epigenetics and an upbringing in New York City, some could say it’s in my blood.

What is your background? and how did it inform the focus of your creative exploration or the medium you're currently working with?

My research and development in medical science and work experience as a tattoo artist and graphic designer inform the Ultra-Mod Assemblages made from unconventional materials. Underneath my diverse scientific umbrella of ‘WET’ palettes, I handle histological synthetic stains used in Gram’s Method to classify bacteria. Some of my ‘WET’’ palettes are made up of liquid forms used for painting and collage: Gentian Violet, Iodine, Methylene Blue, Carbol Rose, Malachite Green, Saliva, and Sumi Ink. Currently, I am simultaneously working with my ‘DRY’ palette comprised of paper + plastic target practice silhouettes and Void, Fragile, holographic Tamper-Resistant/Evidence, and Made in the USA labels and stickers.

What ideas interested you in the beginning of your practice, which ideas have you continued to explore, and where have they led you?

Sexual Violence, Epigenetic Trauma, The Holocaust and BioPower.
Anything and everything in the medical field.
Honing in on Science, Diseases/Viruses, and various types of Cancers.
I am half artist and half pseudo doctor. Most of the ideas that I started with have followed me into the future. If anything, I have continued to go deeper down the research hole. Recently, I have found strange coincidences that link all of the subjects together. A common theme I find holds true is that everything is connected

Who were and are the biggest sources of your inspiration?

I am inspired by my dad, Rudy Heintze, who is an artist. Watching, learning and seeing how he works always brings me luxurious comfort. Additionally, I continue to be motivated by history's forgotten scientists who never received credit for their accomplishments. Specifically, Heddy Lamar, aka Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, an actress, inventor, and film producer who invented frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication. Lamar laid the groundwork for bluetooth and wifi technology. And how could I forget: Dr. Rahel Hirsch, who pioneered the way for women’s health. One of her main goals was showing that women's health was more than female genitalia. Hirsch also discovered that solid particles were able to pass from veins and arteries into urine. This is known as the Hirsch-Effect.

Where do you find inspiration?

Multiple Sources: in my dreams, The NIH (National Institute of Health) website, cooking, the book: Sapiens, science and nature documentaries, looking at Iris van herpen anthropomorphic dress designs, browsing inside antique shops, reading medical journals, wikipedia, the U-line catalogue, The National Library of Israel, Little Tokyo, watching B-Exploitation films, Art21 videos, old and new science fiction and horror movies, smelling perfumes, organizing, playing and experimenting with materials in my studio, talking to my friends, fruit foraging and looking at old New York photographs of people and architecture. Most of the time I find inspiration in new places, trying new types of foods, and engaging in new activities that are not even in the art spectrum.


Is there are a single work, project, or series that is pivotal in your current trajectory?

These series: Kama Shooter, Web Women, An Epidemiologists Wet Dream, and Evidence Bags are crucial for many of my new works going forward.

How did it begin? and how did it evolve?

I keep thinking of exactly the specific moment that I first became obsessed with targets….It might have been when I was around eight years old at an all girls summer camp where I got to do riflery which now seems crazy to think about. How did they allow little kids to shoot guns? I definitely loved the danger, seriousness of the sport and all the safety precautions we had to follow. I also got to name the gun and wrap it up in a special blanket. The discipline and the focus were the main draws. No pun intended. But more recently, about five years ago I got back into target practice shooting. I saved, scanned and manipulated the target paper designs on the computer. It was after that moment when I decided to purchase my first target stickers and target silhouette paper. It evolved in a non-linear way as most things do. At the time I had been working on a paper cut out painting series called Web Women made with sumi ink and saliva. The work was based on Women and Technology, Sexualization/Objectification on the web, and referencing ‘The All-American Pin-up’ body-type configurations. The series was a play on linguistics. The women were painted based off of patterns of spider-webs. These figures were trapped within themselves. The web was them and they were the web. The next evolution leap was decided via the target material. This dictated how Kama Shooters started. I was still following the same metaphorical structure when dealing with form and artistic ingredients of choice. From an hybridized artistic-biological perspective the works are non-living autopoietic systems, self-contained and self-created from itself. The Kama Shooters series started with the solitary figure which graduated into two figures and ultimately one of the last pieces I made titled, “The Humane Centipede” included 8 figures intertwined with one another.

Not only did the work evolve so did the questions. Trying to examine what is a muse? Who is the one watching? And why can't we look away? The USA is a train-wreck culture. Siphoning the proverbial fuel into the sector of domestic violence. We have all the dangers in our stockpile. This idea of violence is nothing new. But the notion of accountability is. I started to zero in on what really is a target? Why is anyone who is seen as different from the mainstream of that culture always the target?

What happens when you grow up in a culture of violence? Can people be embedded with trauma? This led me down the road of Epigenetic Trauma. I still am trying to answer how violence is accepted, normalized and brainwashed into various cultures and why? Looking at stigmas, context within history and how humans are predictably cyclical when it comes to violent behavior. I see violence as a form of laundry. Almost perfectly timed in a rinse and repeat type cycle. Bodies first, people second. Immediately, it became quite clear this harmonious power struggle of hunter vs. prey. In a very literal translation once you have a target on your back there is no escaping. Humans are targets and targets are human.

We are innately tribal and animalistic. But can we evolve into something more tame, sans violence, and see each other as more equal?

What were important lessons in the process that you’ve carried forward with you?

1.Always research
2.keep going down the rabbit hole you never know where it might lead you 3.Perspective is essential, so step back and give your work some time and space to breathe.
4. Come back to it if you are unsure.
5. Experiment until you feel it is just right.
6. During the process: trust your gut or your intuition or whatever you want to call that thing inside of you that goes into its own autopilot mode when working. Trust it.
7. Remember to enjoy the process and the moments of making.

What are you working on now?

My WIP right now is my 2020 FBI MOST WANTED self-portrait. I am using a new material, which is a Basic Yellow fluorescent dye used for fingerprinting as well as an old favorite material of mine: Gentian Violet Tattoo paper stencils. Another piece I am working on is part of my ‘Evidence Bags’ series. This new bags’ vacuum sealed contents will contain various patches with slogans that read: MEDICAL ALERT, DO NOT PET I AM WORKING, Emotional Support, IN TRAINING, DO NOT PET, DO NOT DISTRACT, ASK BEFORE PETTING, A+ BLOOD TYPE and many more. The patches will be velcro adhered to a pair of deconstructed underwear fastened to a target patterned background.

If you could go back in time to the very beginning of your art practice and give your younger self a single piece of advice what would it be?

Just do it. Just make it. Don’t think too hard.
Don’t over-analyze. It will deter you from making the actual work.
Keep going. The future is in your hands.

About the Artist

Los Angeles, California

Marina Heintze is a Jewish native New Yorker from Tribeca. Her practice and job experience are in the fields of Research and Development in Medical Science, Production, Graphic Design, and as a Tattoo Artist. Heintze has shown at Kerry Schuss Gallery (LES + TriBeCa), The Knock Down Center (QUEENS, NY), Art Share LA, and Spring/Break Art Show (LA) and Field Projects. She graduated from CalArts and Parsons. Presently, Marina Heintze is quarantining and working out of her studio: Minutiae located in the Produce District of Los Angeles, California.

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