The First Onscreen Woman Orgasm
from “Everything has its first time”
Francesca Seravalle

Presented at “Feminine Masculine”, Photo50 - London Art Fair 20-24.01.2016
Shortlisted at Concorso Pasinetti – Venice Film Festival 2016
Presented at Photo Saint Germain 2017, Paris

Credit (video) 4 minutes abstract from “Ecstasy”
Directed by Gustav Machatý
Written by Jacques A. Koerpel
Screenplay by Frantisek Horký and Gustav Machatý
Produced by Moriz Grunhut and Gustav Machatý
Elektafilm, 1933

The First Recorded Sounds.
Credit (audio) discography of Edouard-Léon Scott de Martinville (1853-1860)
recreated by First Sound organisation
“Secret communication” is a tribute to the feminine pleasure, the nonverbal communication between woman and man, to the noise of the first attempts and to the importance of pornography to the progress of technology. It’s an oxymoronic conversation between she and he, orgasm and war, sound and silence, failure and evolution, past and present. The video is made by an abstract of Ecstasy (The First Onscreen Woman Orgasm, 1933 by Gustav Machatý) synchronized with a sequence of the first sounds ever recorded, by Edouard-Léon Scott de Martinville (between 1853- 1860). Ecstasy, projected and shortlisted in Venice Film Festival in 1934, was publicly condemned by Pope Pius XI. The movie shocked the public because it was focused on an independent and sensual woman showing explicit pleasure during a sexual relation with her lover.

The idea of a disturbing noise to use in the video, instead of the original sound, come from an invention of the actress of the movie: Hedy Lemarr (aka Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler). During the WWII, meant to solve the problem of Nazis blocking signals from radio-controlled missiles, in 1941, Lemarr with her friend, the American avant-garde composer George Antheil, patented the “Secret Communication system” a system to get off the torpedo using a disturbing sound by radio waves, the so called frequency-hopping spread spectrum. They invented a prototype of “wifi” radio invention, one day be used in mobile phones. The invention was rejected by the US Navy until 1996. At the same time I was looking for the first records and I bumped into “First Sounds” research, an organization made by audio historians and sounds engineers who, in 2008, debunked the myth of Edison as the first person who recorded sounds. They deciphered the images of the records in sounds by a graphical conversion of the trace into a signal of varying width that could be read as an optical film soundtrack. They were disturbing and secret.

I combined the “disturbing sounds” with the “disturbing movie” sure to give a positive effects both to the movie and to the sounds. My interest is to prove that even these sounds exist as they are disturbing (I disturb ergo sum) even if their communication is a failure. Without disturbs and failures there is no improvement in research and in art.

Everything has its first time