Lady Gaga has been known for stripping down and causing a stir. Only this time shedding the outer layer for the Kickstarter video was simply to find the inner Gaga.
“She wanted to take her clothes off to be one with nature,” famed performance artist Marina Abramovic told Celebuzz. “At first I thought it was really crazy because it’s [the forest] full of mosquitoes and ticks. That was her decision. It was up to her how she wanted to experience nature.”
This was all part of Gaga practicing The Abramovic Method, which involves exercises and environments designed to increase awareness of the singer’s physical and mental experience in the moment.
Gaga decided to take it all off – mentally and physically – during a grueling three-day retreat two months ago at Abramovic’s home in upstate New York.
“She was so humble. She knew my work and respected my work and she wanted to learn.
“She landed at 4:30 a.m. in Albany and at 5 a.m. showed up at my doorstep and said ‘let’s start.’
“She really pushed herself. She said, ‘if I can make myself better, then everyone who hears my music can do the same.'”
But there were rules even this superstar with nearly 40 million Twitter followers had to follow – no computer, cell phone, watch, or makeup allowed. She couldn’t even read: “Only writing so she wrote a lot in her diary,” revealed Abramovic.
Clothes were allowed but only those chosen by the performance artist herself. As we all could see from the mysterious video, the Mother Monster ended up discarding the traditional lab coat attire, which Abramovic admits she pulled off the rack from a local tracker store just for the fashion icon.
And as the legendary artist puts it, every single moment was “ritualized,” so much so they came away with 30 hours of video footage.
“From the moment she woke up, even drinking water was an exercise, the way she uses almond oil in her hair,” Abramovic said. “Everything was so restricted and minimal, almost monastic, to get to the kind of simplicity.”
Gaga was so hardcore that she spent three hours blindfolded in the forest: “The idea is that you can see with all parts of the body, not just your eyes. And she found her way back home,” said the artist.
Then, you see Gaga and Abramovic sitting in chairs along the river: “We aren’t looking at each other, we are just looking opposite, but it was to stay in nature and be in the present, absorb and have quietness without any stress – something that she needed so much.
“It’s a way to understand that you have to stop going for the moment and just experience the moment. She’s 27 [years-old], she’s had enormous success so far, the pressure is enormous.”
The singer also spent the majority of time in solitude.
“She went to a wooden hut which I built on the river where there is no electricity. She could stay there for a long time and listen to the water running and wash herself off in the river without using any soap. This is really very pure, very simple.”
And that otherworldly vocal noise heard throughout the video is just another exercise: “This is producing a very special sound from her throat. Four sounds start from the rolling stomach and go through the heart.
“We started from where she released the sound in order to make the body hollow and release energy. That’s the sound we used for the entire video because we know her singing, but we’ve never seen her chanting that way.”
And what’s up with Gaga cradling that massive crystal?
Abramovic says the songstress learned how she could use crystals for healing.
Over the course of 72 hours, even minimal food meant back to basics, like peeled almonds soaked in water.
“She had to eat alone and very slow so she could feel and smell the food.
With Gaga’s latest highly-anticipated album, ARTPOP, ready to make its debut, Abramovic said the retreat was to help her handle the mounting pressure.
“She is so opened minded and very strong. She said to me ‘nobody knows what it takes to get to where I am,'” said Abramovic, who infamously danced with Jay-Z while performing his song “Picasso Baby” for six hours straight at the Pace Gallery in NYC. “I think very few people understand how much work she puts into it. She really wanted to have the time to come back to herself.”
After launching the Kickstarter campaign, Gaga has helped Abramovic raise over $250,000 of her $600,000 goal by Aug. 26 to help fund the Marina Abramovic Institute.
And this is just the beginning of the Gaga and Abramovic “radical” collaboration, she says.
After the video came out, the singing sensation sent her a note: “So many times [Gaga] said, ‘I am the frame changing different images and different personalities’ and she sent me a message ‘finally people can see really who I am.'”