Lady Gaga is no stranger to incorporating outrageous, shocking, questionable symbolism into her music videos and public appearances. She’s basically built a name for herself in the entertainment industry for pushing the envelope of what the public will accept. Some of the singer’s most favorite images to insert into her videos are the pyramid, references to the dark arts, and especially, the all-seeing eye.
With a scheduled release date of November 2013, Lady Gaga is gearing up her fans with a handful of videos and public appearances leading up to the album. The music video for Lady Gaga’s song ‘Applause,’ which was released on August 12, 2013, is the first single from her highly anticipated album titled ‘Artpop’…and it does not stray from her use of questionable symbolic imagery.
Directed by Inez & Vinoodh, the music video for ‘Applause’ was revealed on August 19, 2013, and first premiered on Good Morning America – broadcast across screens in Times Square. Before it hit the public, Gaga took to social media to say that her interest in shapeshifting served as inspiration for the video, and stated “Would you do ‘anything’ for the Applause? Iconography in motion, as magic.” There is no doubt about it; Lady Gaga enjoys transforming from one thing into another.
In the music video for ‘Applause,’ the color black is heavily used throughout – giving the piece a dark arts type of feel, especially with her reference to a black swan, blackbirds, and a raven-like creature. In some cultures, black-colored birds are representative of dark magic. A black and white color scheme is also prevalent throughout the theme of the video. She also incorporates themes of being a caged bird. Gaga even appears with wings attached to her back, hovering over a group of scantily-clad dancers. Since the singer is wearing a black-colored outfit, it’s easy to assume that the wings signify more of a demon-like persona instead of an angelic one. Interestingly, the people beneath her form a kind of pyramid-like structure reminiscent of an orgy – the pyramid being another symbol associated with the Illuminati.
Aside from the reference to black magic (as seen in the black bird imagery), elements of magic also play a role in the video. The singer wearing next to nothing is seen dancing over a cauldron with smoke coming from it – this kind of imagery is often used to symbolize witchcraft, magic, or the occult. A smoky image of hands is seen surrounding her body.
However, it is the extreme use of all-seeing eye symbolism (which is linked to the Eye of Horus) throughout the video that has become one of Gaga’s signature references, as it constantly appears in her music interpretations and photo shoots. There is plenty of it that emerges within the different scenes of the music video. Another disturbing motion that Gaga embraces is making the ‘666’ hand gesture, which at times, also accompanies her single-eye symbolism. In one scene, her dancers join in by making the same kind of hand gestures. There are other instances of single-eye symbolism found in the music video – some of which are blatant while others are hidden in ‘creative’ ways.