"[Gaga Stigmata has] very modern, edgy photography to free flowing, urban narratives without censure to analytical essays, et cetera—like Gaga, imagination without ... limits. And the beauty is that anyone can submit work to the site, so artists and writers from all over the [world] have joined this experiment." -The Declaration.org

"Since March 2010, [Gaga Stigmata] has churned out the most intense ongoing critical conversation on [Lady Gaga]."
-Yale's The American Scholar

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

GAGAGRAPHY: Gaga & Fellini

Definition: Gagagraphy is the branch of Gaga studies that seeks to identify, describe, and interpret the content of images depicting Lady Gaga. A Gagagraphy studies all the various components of an image of Gaga, mining for meaning the image’s positioning of its figure, her gesture, her costume, her props (animate and inanimate), her facial expression, her makeup, etc. A Gagagraphy also studies potential visual precursors to images of Gaga, seeking to understand from where Gaga’s iconography draws its inspiration, its influences, its visual quotations. Gagagraphy often necessitates comparative analysis, drawing meaning from the exercise of comparing and contrasting Gaga’s images with her visual influences.

Directions: Meditate upon the following image of Gaga, taking into account its various components. Then compare and contrast Gaga’s image with Fellini’s. Leave your analysis in the comments.


  1. No comment on her intent, nor the designers, just pointing out that she is wearing a Francesco Scognamiglio bodysuit that was created for this photoshoot, credit: http://gagafashionland.com/2011/04/lady-gaga-for-harpers-bazaar/#more-7532

  2. Well firstly, Gaga is a named subject, and identifiable, as opposed to the female figure in the Fellini poster. The Fellini is austere and iconographic, whereas Gaga is excess, semiotic gluttony (not to mention the venomous sarcasm of her explosion of the middle-class domesticisty of the tea party - a political pun?).
    Also worth noting is the lack of consumption in the Fellini, aside from the female figure which is stripped of subjectivity to become an icon (though there is a possible line of flight in the becoming-(she-)wolf). What does this mean for Gaga's self-presentation? Is she actively citing this poster? are there other precedents for the taking on of multiple breasts as a trait of (non-, or post-? human)animal (monster) motherhood?

  3. Ummm... no. The Fellini image is of a humanized she-wolf, a clear reference to the raising of human babies by an animal. I don't see that in the Gaga image at all.

    For the Gaga image, I'd rather look to ancient Aphrodite statues if anything (they seemingly have row upon row of breasts, creating a daunting effect). But the overall mood in the Gaga image isn't really suggesting a link there either.

  4. @Anonymous - who is to say which direction the transition is taking place, or even if it is happening? it is an image, and thus static, which heavily problematises the imposition of any temporal narrative. The presence of multiple potential subjects (woman, wolf, hybrid) does create a field of potentiality, but the semiosis occuring meets interference not from determination or poverty, but this excess.

  5. I think that she is being herself. Noone can hate on her for not being original or fake. She doesn't conform to any kind of idealist views on how she should handle herself in the spotlight so I think she is a good role model for people who just want to be themselves and also for the entire LGBT community. Most straight men like myself don't like to admit it but I like 95% of her music lol.

  6. Nathanael RomeroMay 18, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    The BTW video came to mind when I saw this. This image can be seen as another incarnation of Mother Monster. What is peculiar here is that she has an odd number of breasts, allowing them to form the shape of a V, recalling the opening of the BTW video (e.g. the downward pointing triangle, Mother Monster giving birth feet, raised up in stirrups in shape of a V).

    Also, Gaga has for some time used teacups as props. I recall her saying that she used to have teatime with her mother as a kid. The image thus suggests matrilineal continuity. She's holding a real teacup, but has rubber toy pastries. In the image she is simultaneously maternal and childish.

    In BTW, Mother Monster is giving birth. But the breasts in this image suggest post-natal nurturing. She is nevertheless alone, no suckling infants. Who would these infants be? Her little monsters? Of the multiple Gagas in the BTW video, she is both infant and mother. Here too, Gaga is occupies both places, as is evinced in both the porcelain teacup and the rubber pastries.

  7. Fellini was there first. Not the first to use the iconic image but he got there way before LG.

  8. As a simple and artist when I see the image of Gaga, I see a mother in her nest initially. Enjoying a moment while she isn't giving and remembering her own quest as a child and the practice her mother shared with her.
    If I had further knowledge of symbolic meaning with historic relation and color or reflection I don't doubt i'd find even more doors of delicious that she likes to present us.
    As for now, in my first impression of this image with the one below, they both present a raw nurturing strength that sends a message of power and struggle with question of satisfaction. BUT the first image's use of color and clean subject send a comforting edge to a scattered light. The image below holds no light in the image but between it, making me feel like bottom has been reached, and there is no where but up.
    that is all ^_^ *paws up* ♫ ♥

  9. The she wolf that Fellini poses is a reference to the myth of Romulus and Remus (the founders of the city Rome). Gaga's multi-breasted maccaron dotted tea time in bed carnival is certainly Fellini-esque in feeling, but this is more Venice than Rome. I think.

  10. And now for Gaga's secret. Here's a hint from Tom Lehrer--


  11. Can the new Gaga's videoclip (G.U.Y.+other songs) be defined fellinian according to yo?



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