Poetica Vaginal

A short history of radio messages to ET

Joe Davis is an artist and a research affiliate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the mid-1980s, he became concerned that no image of humans had been sent into space representing the details of human genitals or reproduction.

So he led a project to transmit the sounds of vaginal contractions towards neighbouring star systems. To do so, he recorded the vaginal contractions of ballet dancers.

The messages were to be sent from MIT's Millstone Hill Radar to Epsilon Eridani, Tau Ceti and two other stars. However, only a few minutes of footage was transmitted before the US air force, which had jurisdiction over the facility, shut the project down.

Nevertheless, the vaginal sounds that were sent will have reached Epsilon Eridani in 1996 and Tau Ceti in 1998. It is unclear what sort of reply we should expect.

Joe Davis: Monsters, Maps, Signals and Codes

A "vaginal detector" was built in a laboratory of mechanical engineering and consisted of a water-filled polyallomer centrifuge tube mounted on a hard nylon base that contained a very sensitive pressure transducer. Dancers and other female volunteers (unsolicited) hygienically invaginated the detector in order to characterize vaginal contractions (the fastest was clocked at 0.8 Hz). The embedded pressure transducer was sensitive enough to detect voice, heartbeat, and respiration as well as voluntary and involuntary vaginal contractions.

Electronic music software was used to generate real time harmonics of vaginal contractions until that frequency matched one of the frequencies in the set of unique frequencies of English speech. A collaborating linguist bit-mapped those speech sounds (called, "phonemes") so that they could be generated in real time corresponding to vaginal "inputs." A digital map of the analog detector output was also made in real time. Thus, three forms of the message were simultaneously generated: 1) an analog signal directly generated by vaginal contractions; 2) a digital map of same and 3) voice (English phoenetic maps of vaginal contractions).

[...] The Vaginal Excursion Module was assembled at Haystack and preliminary test transmissions of vaginal signals were undertaken with sample vaginal signals recorded on audio tape. Then, on the eve before live broadcasts were to be made, the Millstone project Group Leader, a United States Air Force Colonel (Millstone Radar had been contracted tothe Air Force by MIT) terminated the project. Still, a few minutes of test transmissions were made to each of the four sunlike stars.

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13 Responses:

  1. Scientists are weird.

  2. gths says:

    Heh, vagina monologues.

  3. chuck_lw says:


  4. dignam says:

    I am right on the dividing line between declaring this a farcical sex-cult New Age confabulation of exploitative hokum, and calling it total genius.

  5. lionsphil says:

    "Electronic music software was used to generate real time harmonics of vaginal contractions..."

    Combine this with a bloke playing a theremin using his penis, and I think someone has a niche hit on their hands.