chapter  7
31 Pages

Celebrity, Spectacle, and Surveillance: Understanding Lady Gaga’s ‘Paparazzi’ and ‘Telephone’ through Music, Image, and Movement


For Lady Gaga, writing songs and making videos are part of the same creative process. Gaga does not, as she puts it, ‘write records and then decide what the video will look like.’ Instead, song writing and video making are part of what she calls a ‘complete vision’ in and through which ‘the song and the visual [ . . . ] all come [ . . . ] at once.’2 Far from mere promotional materials for her songs, Gaga’s videos are an integral part of her artistic production. This is especially true of her cinematically inspired videos ‘Paparazzi’ (2009) and ‘Telephone’ (2010). Conceived as short fi lms complete with title cards and end credits, these ground-breaking videos bring to life the human drama and the collateral damage associated with present-day celebrity culture.3