Lady Gaga pops by MIT

Shows her teeth for giant Polaroid

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Polaroid executives and MIT Museum curator Deborah Douglas pose with the Lady Gaga portrait at the Polaroid press conference at the MIT Museum. On June 30, Lady Gaga came to MIT to have her portrait taken with an extremely rare Polaroid 20x24 camera. The resulting portrait was donated to the MIT Museum.
Eric D. Schmiedl—The Tech
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As Lady Gaga left the photo shoot from the back of Building N52, one MIT student asked her to sign his lab pipette. On June 30, Lady Gaga came to MIT to have her portrait taken with an extremely rare Polaroid 20x24 camera from the MIT Museum.
Eric D. Schmiedl—The Tech
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Lady Gaga had her portrait taken on the 3rd floor of Building N52 on Wednesday, June 30. During her departure at approximately 3 p.m., Gaga took two minutes to sign autographs from the seat of her escort for anxious fans.
Eric D. Schmiedl—The Tech

With aviator sunglasses hiding her eyes, lips painted fire-engine red, crystals dripping down her neck, and platinum blonde hair whisked to the side, the world-famous pop singer and recording artist Lady Gaga made a guest appearance to the MIT campus last Wednesday.

Representing the Polaroid Corporation as its official creative director, Gaga’s visit to MIT included a photo shoot on the third floor of the MIT Museum. Polaroid made a roughly ten thousand item donation to the museum, and Gaga’s photo shoot capped off the unvieling of the museum’s new collection.

Gaga was recently named creative director for the Polaroid Corporation this past January.

Gaga posed for a 20-inch by 24-inch black and white Polaroid camera, which is one of the last of its kind and takes two people to operate. With her teeth showing, Gaga was snapped while in her notorious “claw” pose — similar to that found in her “Bad Romance” music video.

The photo will remain on permanent display at the MIT museum, alongside Polaroid’s donation of cameras and other artifacts, spanning roughly 70 years of the company’s technological history.

Contributing to the company’s decision to donate to the MIT Museum, Polariod has local origins, as it was originally founded in Cambridge in 1937.

“Honest to God, when I first found out about [the donation], I thought it was a joke,” said Deborah Douglas, MIT Museum’s curator of science and technology.

According to Deborah, negotiations for the massive collection of historical Polaroid artifacts began last December and January, and the official deed of gift was signed last May.

Once the donation was officially made, “we had amazing people come in [and organize inventory],” she said. “They had two weeks to take a picture of ten thousand items— to take inventory...We had an assembly line going.”

Although Gaga left before the photo was unveiled, Polaroid’s Corporate President Scott Hardy, CEO Stephen G. Miller, Chief Marketing Officer Jon Pollock, and Douglas, addressed a crowd of press and pre-selected MIT students regarding their plans for the newly donated Polaroid Archive.

Students at the unveiling were those whose student group’s share space with the museum’s building as well as those who got special access to be in a “Polaroid focus group.”

“Now we have it roughly in place, and we have got to tell the world about [the donation], because it’s really fantastic,” Deborah said.

“MIT is all about making things and doing things, and in one sense, this business of Lady Gaga, you think ‘oh it’s celebrity’ and so forth...but on the other hand, it’s as curator’s dream that she would want to come here to the museum and learn about the history of this technology,” she said.

Gaga was already in the Cambridge area before visiting MIT for her back-to-back concerts, performed on July 1 and July 2 at TD Bank North Garden.

“It was really good timing because Lady Gaga was in town for her concert, and we thought why don’t we bring her here to MIT,” Douglass said. “We were really sorry she wasn’t here today [for the event]...we’re bummed out about that.”

Before the departing from the museum’s back entrance however, Gaga did take a couple minutes to sign autographs for students and fans.

While some onlookers had her sign more traditional items such as photographs and biographies of the singer, one student had Gaga sign what appeared to be a 1000 micro-liter pipette.

Yan Zhu ’12 was also among those who got an authentic Gaga autograph; she got it on her MIT ID.

See Zhu’s story of her Lady Gaga experience in this story’s sidebar.