In an odd and strange piece of news, Lady Gaga has partnered with Zynga, creators of the popular Facebook game, Farmville, to announce that they are joining forces to create the promotional GagaVille game for launch early next week. The game is basically a Gaga-branded version of Farmville that features unicorns, crystals, and sheep on motorcycles. No, this is not a joke. You’re not reading the Onion. This is 100% real.
My first questions is this: What? Closely followed by my next question: WTF? Quickly followed by peels of hysterical laughter.
First of all, Farmville is kind of a joke already, and Lady Gaga is completely ridiculous. So on some level this partnership makes complete and total sense. But on another level, I have to wonder what Lady Gaga is doing with her career. I can understand being outrageous and creating shock value for the sake of furthering one’s career, but brand partnering with such a meaningless and trivial game that everyone quit playing a few years ago seems like an odd decision, even for the Gaga.
On the surface, it seems that Lady Gaga actively seeks to create a public image that is both individualistic and iconoclastic. In other words, Lady Gaga comes off as someone who tells people to do what they want—no matter how “weird” or “odd” that might be—and at the same time seeks to tear down established hierarchies and social, political, and commercial structures. For someone who is such a “free thinker,” partnering with a Facebook game to promote her own album, seems decidedly counterintuitive. It’s kind of like Che Guevara partnering with Levi’s to promote a new self-help book.
Then again, perhaps Lady Gaga is following in the footsteps of one of her cultural influences, Andy Warhol. Warhol championed pop-art and commercialism instead of rejecting commercial success like many of his predecessors. In his factory, he churned out mass amounts of reproduced art that both parodied and depended on commercialism for success. So, maybe Gaga, like Warhol, sees no difference between art and commercialism and thus has no bones about cashing in on the avarice of her “little monsters.” (That’s what she calls her fans. Endearing and belittling at the same time, isn’t it?)
Is this some sort of artistic statement about the meaningless boundary between art and commerce, or is it simply a way for a spotlight-hungry singer to cash in on her fans and make a quick buck? With Lady Gaga it’s hard to tell.
Anyway, if you are a “little monster,” and can’t wait for GagaVille to go live, here are all the details.