Analysis de GaGa: Confusion, High Art Echo, Sequin Massacre

Watch this first, otherwise we have no basis for conversation.

Ok, so something else you should know, is that I spend most of my time dwelling in the nebulous, schismatic anti-world that exists between performance art, highbrow postmodernism and good ol fashioned theater. It is a hellish slum of a place populated by performers displaced by the mainstream, artists who have eschewed the mainstream and people who just couldn’t find the mainstream despite the fact it has a big glowing sign that says “THIS WAY TO A NORMAL LIFE.”

We’re going to kind of blow past the “Is it art” question right here, because it’s a useless thing to ask anymore. Art is a reality tunnel more often than not. Since our infatuation with non-representation, abstraction and deconstruction began we have begun to question, in a broader sense, intent and integrity. By which I mean, does it want to be art, and if so, what other art is it in dialogue with? Now this is also useless in a certain way, due in part to our cultural preoccupation with the current and the next. Cultural paradigms of the 20th and 21st century shift like the position of Zeno’s Arrow so that what we crave is not understanding as much as it is the power to signal “This is the now right now” and “This is going to be the now tomorrow” and be right on both counts. It’s a byproduct of our new ontology; one that does not necessitate that beings be grouped, or categorized together but rather is a celebration of complete individuation and atomization. The most successful that an art object, or any object for that matter, can be in the new ontology is to be itself completely. A kind of non-literary hermeneutic circle.

Now, where in God’s name does Lady GaGa fit into all of this? Let me begin with an anecdote about the first time I watched this video:

My sister came over and I showed her some of the adorable videos put together by Pomplamoose who are totally adorable and have a LOT of instruments in their tiny recording room. So then, my dear sister is like “oh that’s great”, have you seen the video for Lady GaGa’s new song? Carrie, how in heaven’s name are you getting from A to B here? Seriously, cute couple in SF making music in their apartment…oh let me show you this terrifying latex crown wearing, polar bear burning shitshow.

So anyway, I’m watching this thing, trying to figure out how they made her eyes so big, and how they did that thing with her spine/hoping it’s not real, why the polar bear, the list goes on, when it suddenly occurs to me that I should be liking this. It’s a cogent vision, almost Bacon-esque in its treatment of the human form, dramatic costume changes, butts, it has a lot of the trappings of performance art but there seems to be something lacking. Something that makes it self-assured, something that makes it…good. Maybe it’s because all Lady GaGa songs are tailor made for narcissistic gays to hit the clubs and go “This is my song!” Maybe it’s because Lady GaGa has an outstanding voice and for reasons passing understanding decides to mumble and monotone her way through 90% of her oeuvre. Maybe it’s because while so much of this is striking, so much of it also reeks of Damien Hirst concotions of Warhol grade self-importance. Is her outrageous behavior A) Brilliant Marketing B) 47 Cards Short of a Full Deck C) Childhood Neglect? I just don’t know anything about this video. It’s self contained, fractured narrative structure begs me to come inside despite how scary it is (cause it is fucking scary and uncomfortable), but the thinly veiled references and metaphors of success external to the world violate the established parameters of this context.

Maybe she’s telling us everything when she’s walking around in that gigantic gold sequin number. “Walk, walk fashion baby work it move that bitch car-azy” By which I would hazard a guess that she means, “Don’t read into it to much, it’s fashion.” This makes sense, fashion is an experimentation with human style, it does not need to rely on anything else other than the body in space. It has influences from other art forms on a sliding scale, willing to take and forsake at a moments notice. So if that’s what’s going on here, why is she singing?

In summation: This bitch is making my head hurt, but I must understand what the hell is going on here.

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