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Dyke Action Machine! (Dam!)
Dyke Action Machine! (DAM!)
When did you know? 2000
Which oneís the man? 2000
Are you two sisters? 2000
Lesbian Americans: Donít sell out! 1998
Gay Marriage: You might as well be straight 1997
Dyke Action Machine! was founded in New York City in 1991 by Sue Schaffner and Carrie Moyer. Moyer is a painter and graphic designer. She has created agitprop campaigns for the Lesbian Avengers, Queer Nation and the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization, among others. She is represented by Debs & Co. in New York City. Schaffner is a widely published commercial photographer working under the alias Girl Ray.
DAM! employs the aesthetics of camp by inserting lesbian imagery into recognizably pre-existing ad campaigns. Camp is the queer form of self-parody that allows lesbians and gays to address queer issues with humor. The goal of camp is to preempt exploitation from an outside source by exposing oneself first, a strategy founded on the act of coming out. (Spencer Ramsay, catalogue essay, Queer Commodity, 2002)
The posters When did you know?, Which oneís the man?, and Are you two sisters? are a response to frequently asked questions. The posters direct viewers to a website created by DAM! offering humorous answers. Lesbian Americans: Donít sell out! appropriates the style of a 1940 war poster or political campaign ad. The women show few, if any, conventional feminine qualities. This image along with its slogan proposes the butch lesbian as a mainstream American symbol. Gay Marriage: You might as well be straight responds to the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in the 1990s.
These posters reflect DAM!ís aim to add a sharp, sophisticated lesbian voice to the larger cultural critique. They were exhibited as part of MSVUís group show Queer Commodity in 2002.