Emma Magenta

Art explorer

Emma Magenta

Art explorer

Author and artist, Emma Magenta uses her alter-ego Phil­lipa Finch to touch on the core of human­ity and blend emo­tion with tech­no­logy to help us deal with big ques­tions.. In this talk at TEDx­Can­berra 2011, Emma describes her work and how she uses her alter-egos to explore and under­stand emo­tion. She also demon­strates The Wak­ing Heart; a machine built to provide a tech­nical com­pon­ent to her art.


Emma Magenta was born in Sydney and began her career draw­ing and writ­ing her thoughts down on brown paper bags while work­ing at Berkelouw Books in Pad­ding­ton. After pin­ning them to the front win­dow, they accrued a cult status and a pub­lish­ing deal was offered to her by Aus­tralian pub­lish­ing phe­nomenon Brad­ley Tre­vor Grieve.

Since then, she has writ­ten and illus­trated sev­eral adult pic­ture books; The Peril of Mag­ni­fi­cent Love, A Gor­geous Sense of Hope, The Ori­gin of Lament and The Gradual Demise of Phil­lipa Finch. These books explore aspects of the fem­in­ine psyche, one’s emo­tional world and the secret life of rela­tion­ships. They have res­on­ated with thou­sands of women around the globe as an anti­dote to depres­sion.

Her latest cre­ation; The Gradual Demise of Phil­lipa Finch is Magenta’s first foray into the world of anim­a­tion and fol­lows the emo­tional jour­ney of Magenta’s alter-ego Phil­lipa Finch from death to life. A six­teen epis­ode series screened on ABC1 in 2011 that seeks to bridge the gap between human emo­tion and tech­no­logy via an inter­act­ive web­site. The viewer answers ques­tions regard­ing their emo­tional state and thereby can cre­ate their own online art­work known as a Heart­work.

This pro­ject has now exten­ded into a live space through a machine known as The Wak­ing Heart.