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BARBARA HAMMER

Barbara Hammer, California, 1979. Photo: Maria Brännström.

OF THE MORE THAN EIGHTY moving-image works that Barbara Hammer created, her 1974 film Dyketactics remains her most iconic. A four-minute paean to lesbian sexuality, Dyketactics publicly announced Hammer’s blossoming sexual identity after the end of her heterosexual marriage and testified to the visionary power of a woman with a movie camera. The film is a revolutionary call for recognition, a how-to guide to sensuality, and a reflection of the utopian spirit that animated a generation of women in search of sexual pleasure and empowerment beyond heterosexuality. It is also one of the most joyful battle hymns ever recorded, pulsating with its author’s tactile, DIY approach: Handpainted credits bracket haptic images of women caressing each other’s bodies and discovering themselves anew. The film still feels as sweet as a kiss and as potent as a Molotov cocktail. No wonder my students

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