March 24 / May 28  2022

Alma Heikkila

Hot prefrontal cortex

Installation view 

Alma Heikkila – Hot prefrontal cortex

Installation view 

Alma Heikkila – Hot prefrontal cortex

Myriad levels of organization – 179 x 270 cm 

Alma Heikkila – Hot prefrontal cortex

Immune system are created, in part, by microbial symbionts – 137 x 270 cm 

Alma Heikkila – Hot prefrontal cortex

Single cell intelligence – 35 x 25 cm 

Alma Heikkila – Hot prefrontal cortex

A celebration of life magnified under the microscope and of our mysterious relationship with nature in a space in constant transformation

“I lay on the ground imagining that the life of the soil beneath me slowly sifted through my body. Food passes through my body, my colon. Food that passes through the intestines. Neat piles of excrement left in our wake. The soft, flexible tunnels in our bodies slowly twist onto each other. We tending towards the rhizomes of the earth, or they tending towards us. “ Alma Heikkilä

Working with paint, plaster, resin, organza, space and light, the finnish artist Alma Heikkilä draws inspiration for his works by walking in the boreal forests and imagining the infinite processes that go into the soil, beneath the earth’s surface and inside of the dark and soft tunnels of our body. For his solo exhibition at the milanese gallery Tempesta presents a new body of works that portray intricate patterns of growth and decay.

Heikkilä is fascinated by the complex relationships and transformations that create microscopic ecosystems. Incorporating swarms of tiny sculptural elements into her paintings, Heikkilä portrays organisms whose ecologies and capabilities humans are only in recent years beginning to appreciate. Heikkilä’s works make visible the abundance of life that teems within a decaying tree trunk or within our intestines. Countless, perceptible only with the aid of a microscope, are found to live in total darkness and even without sunlight, life radiates equally in our nervous system as in the depths of the earth.

There is a constant interrelation between man and the environment that today has become more relevant than ever, the study of life passes through analysis and, although the biology of the past may seem very different from today’s avant-garde work, the basic ideas established in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries about the diversity and extinction of life, about our place in nature, and the consequences of our intervention on the planet (or the lack of such consequences) still deeply shape the life sciences of today and become contemporary themes in cause of the climate crisis and pandemics of our time.

Alma Heikkilä’s works want to magnify like a microscope everything that cannot be directly experienced through the five senses of the human body. This world invisible to the eye leaves traces in reality and conditions the experience of everyday life by determining its physical outcomes on matter, his works return, as if to condense the passage of time, the results of these hidden and protracted processes over the years on a new scale. which magnifies them making them experienceable for our human perception. Thus the slowness and the microscopic scale, elusive to our human understanding, becomes a work of art. The ruin and the microbe become symbols in the same way as the flow of events for an immanent representation of change.

The artist’s research thus evolves, within this exhibition proposal, into a reflection on the human condition, its transience within a biosphere made up of symbiotic interdependencies, between organic and inorganic, mold and stone, life and time, food and secretion. Alma’s practice is an attempt to articulate and make room for reflecting precisely on these transformations and the impossibility of human beings to have the complete picture: the mysteries of life will always escape our perceptive abilities and our systems of knowledge.

A percentage of the sale of Alma Heikkilä’s works featured at the exhibition will be donated to support Ukraine.


Foro Buonaparte 68, Milan

Vernissage March 24th at 6 pm

On display until May 28

Open Tuesday to Friday 3.00pm-7.00pm

hot prefrontal cortex

*this text is meant to be difficult – I’m struggling here, not thinking clearly
… biological individuality concepts, cognition, symbiosis, decision making, network science

‘What’s on your mind? – I’ve evolved in shared relationships

“decisions are the result of complex cognitive processes”
The decision-making process is regarded as a continuous process integrated into the interaction with the environment.
So, there isn’t shift between – I & “environment”
the between is ___________________ ambiguous
I don’t seem to have the best knowledge about me my – / is it my body or “me”. Then, is it -“my” – body? Many parts of my brain are working – and I’m not even trying — I can’t stop them________ cognitive and _______________ behavioural______________________________ complex biological systems,

What should I ask to understand

What an individual is and why?

+ bacterial colonies & shared evolution, microbiome etc
Sometimes I ask my partner to place his hand on my forehead, it feels good. Getting into complex cognitive processes

●  “The plant-soil microbiome is the dynamic community of microorganisms associated with plants and soil. This community includes bacteria, archaea, and fungi.

●  Single-cell organism’s memories twist our understanding of intelligent life · Slime mould memory holds clues to animal intelligence.”

Conceptual understanding is a key aspect of learning.


“why. One reason for this disagreement is that the many important biological individuality concepts serve very different purposes-defining, classifying, or explaining the living structure, function, interaction, persistence, or evolution.”
I forgot what I was reading.

“many important biological individuality concepts serve very different purposes&; defining, classifying, or explaining the living structure, function, interaction, persistence, or evolution.”

_________________ the study of life.

“As we will see, although the biology of the past can seem very different from today’s cutting-edge work, the underlying ideas laid down in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—about the diversity and extinction of life, about our own place in nature, and about the consequences of our intervening into nature (or the lack of such consequences)—still profoundly shape today’s life sciences, even as the crises of our time require that we rethink these ideas fundamentally.”

“how past ideas about diversity and extinction, scientific and medical intervention, and key concepts such as infection and information have shaped present-day assumptions and attitudes about biology and human nature.” What assumptions about nature and science are embedded in the different ways of making visible?
Seeing inside the body – individuality and the understanding of compound organisms relative individuality?

Can (over)thinking make your head hot?

The body releases stress hormones that send blood to the muscles and increase circulation __________________________ As a result, a person may feel unexpectedly hot ________________________________if caught off guard by anxiety or stress, or if they are experiencing a panic attack.
The increased mental activity needs increased cellular metabolism, and heat is a byproduct of that metabolism. ̈

My body has many thermoregulatory functions that would seek then to return the brain to average temperature.

I cherish copying. All my thoughts are naturally borrowed. For this spurt of shared thinking, I need to thank at least Lynn K. Nyhart, the search engine, Scott Lidgard, Wikipedia, and so many other sources liable and less liable.