• Agents of Change

    • This woman accelerated the sexual revolution of her time, she is considered one of the most beautiful women of all time, and she set the foundations for radioelectric transmission manipulation.

    Hedy Lamarr: the sublime and libertine beauty that enriched science / 

    It is actually surprising that Hedy Lamarr’s fame is not greater. She is considered one of the most ingenious female inventors of the past century and her life closely resembles a fiction novel. This beautiful woman went through the most astounding circumstances and established herself as a sexual revolutionary when she first set foot on the scene, appearing completely nude for ten minutes in a commercial film (Ecstasy, 1937), which had never been done before in commercial cinema.

    Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler was born in Vienna in 1914, daughter of Jewish parents: a pianist and a banker. Her professors thought she was a genius because of her superior mathematical skills. She began her studies as a telecommunications engineer but abandoned them shortly afterwards to pursue acting.

    After her groundbreaking nude scene, one of the most powerful men at the time, Armenian entrepreneur, Friedrich Fritz Mandl, became obsessed with her, to the degree that he set up an arranged marriage and eliminated most of Ecstasy’s reels, so that nobody else would see her naked. Lamarr described her married life as slavery: he would keep her locked up in their house, and she was only allowed to go out when she accompanied him to business meetings and reunions.

    Mandl was one of Hitler’s and Mussolini’s weapons providers, so Lamarr would often spend time with powerful characters that spoke about telecommunications, since that moment onwards she became indispensable for the war. Through casual conversations and information gathered during her uncertain social life, Lamarr obtained, for the first time ever, a technique that prevented coded messages from being deciphered, which she later gave to the United States.

    Also in the field of telecommunications, Lamarr created a system that widened signals, a mechanism that today impacts the wavelengths that define internet speed. This Austrian female explored multiple realms, including sexual ones —she had a homosexual relationship with her housecleaner, who also helped her escape from her terrible husband—, with an acute intelligence and great artistic ambitions.

    Once her escape was secured, she found out she was on the same ship as Louis B. Mayer, from Metro Goldwyn, and she talked him into hiring her. Once she was in the United States she changed her name and was featured in up to thirty films.

    Endowed with a profound physical beauty, convinced an unthinkable sexual freedom for her time, and with the type of intelligence that defied the stereotype of beautiful women, Lamarr embodied qualities that opposed the  contemporary sexual arguments of the time. Taking a look at her life is to delight in an example of social provocation from a congruent moment. Lamarr is one of the most revolutionary women of all time, and she converged ingredients that made her rebellious nature all the more extraordinary: boldness, intelligence and beauty.

    Tagged: Hedy Lamarr, Agents of Change, technology