Lady Gaga's fame has reached a new high: academia.
Doctoral student Meghan Vicks and poet/performer Kate Durbin started Gaga Stigmata earlier this year to compile their distillations of Gaga videos, original artwork and guest essays (sample: "On the Shared Sisterhood of Kate Bush's 'The Big Sky' & Lady Gaga's 'Dance in the Dark.'")
Salon posted an interview with Vicks and Durbin today, in which they explain the reasoning behind their project:
Salon: Why is Lady Gaga worth studying?
Durbin: Pop matters. What we hear in the mall, in our cars, on YouTube, makes the world around us, which is to say that it makes us. I believe Lady Gaga's art pioneers awareness and liberation at such a massive cultural scale that it would be ignorant, and potentially even destructive, not to take it seriously. We needed a pop star who could simultaneously celebrate the spirit of pop -- the spirit that makes everyone, no matter who or where they are in the world, stand up and start dancing when "Billie Jean" comes on the jukebox -- and deconstruct, and ultimately shift, the static notion of the pop star as a figure of blind worship and untouchable-ness. Gaga has put the glitter wand back into the hands of the audience. She's made the audience responsible for what they are viewing. No other pop singers are doing that, at least not on the level that Gaga is. No pop singer has done it on that level, ever, period.
Durbin and Vicks say they hope to collect enough writings to make a book. Read the interview in full here.