Katy Perry’s Prism Beliefs & the Viewer/Image (Fan/Stage) Relationship

If you’ve followed the tabloids headlines of high profile celebrity divorces over the last two years, you’re probably familiar with the very public end of Katy Perry and Russell Brand’s two-year marriage in December 2011. At the time, Perry was in the midst of her very successful California Dreams tour that featured fluffy pink cotton candy clouds, a stage overflowing with flavor-of-the-month lollipops and a couple of blue wigs to boot.

Katy Perry mixing it up with gingerbread men on her California Dreams Tour (Source: iheartkatyperry.tumblr).

Katy Perry mixing it up with gingerbread men on her California Dreams Tour. (Source: iheartkatyperry.tumblr)

Flash forward two years later and Perry is ready to embark on her second arena-sized worldwide tour in support of her third album, PRISM. She’s back with a new look and sound, and this time around fans should expect an almost toned-down version of the teenage dreamin’, bubble gum smackin’ sing-a-long extravagant that grossed nearly $52 million.

For starters, Katy has explained that the concept of this new album was brought on by the changes in her personal life (think physics, as in the idea of dispersion of light by a triangular prism):

The reason why I called this record Prism is because I actually finally let the light in and then I was able to create all these songs that were inspired by letting the light in and doing some self-reflection and just kind of working on myself

Just a taste of the self-reflective nature Perry mentions can be found in songs as such as “Love Me”, “It Takes Two” and “By the Grace of God”.

Fans got a tiny glimpse of what Katy has in store for this tour, which will reportedly run through mid-2015 (her record label has said PRISM will last at least “two Christmases”) at the iHeartRadio album release concert. The basic end stage featured the prominent prism logo in the background (along with crowd lights that form triangles), that set off Perry’s sheer-white light dress and reflective microphone stand.

A full view of Perry's iHeartRadio show. (Source: One News Page)

A full view of Perry’s iHeartRadio show. (Source: One News Page)

Perry performing at the iHeartRadio album release concert. (Source: RyanSeacrest.com)

Perry performing at the iHeartRadio album release concert. (Source: RyanSeacrest.com)

This upcoming tour takes that prism and transforms it as the overall stage:

I think the visual structures play a mighty role in the overall concept and meaning of the Prismatic World tour, set to kick off May 7 in Northern Ireland before heading to the States on June 22. As Sean Hall discusses in This Means This, This Means That, an object or image is given structure and meaning “through the way they are composed,” elements of visual composition include time, space and embodiment, and with that comes the ability to understand and explain exact placements of said objects and images.

There’s a reason Perry and her team decided to build a triangular-shaped stage and position it at the end, rather than place the stage smack dab in the middle of the arena. As for the fans who are filling the seats, the relationship between their perceived viewpoint and orientation not only on the surface equates how much one is paying for a ticket, but what type of experience they should expect.

For example, there’s the “Ultra-Exclusive Reflective Section Package”, sold as a general admission ticket. That particular section can be found in the middle of the prism stage, and from the looks of the model listed below, those in this section will stand in front of an opening three-dimension triangle.  One can assume these “reflective” fans will be allowed to see their favorite pop star on a more intimate or deeper level.

A closer look at the reflective stage (Source: KatyPerry.com).

A closer look at the reflective stage. (Source: KatyPerry.com)

There is meaning behind the arrangement of those seats, and the ones along the arena floor, as seats are placed around both sides of the triangle. Why not just place the seats along the tip of the triangle and not around? As Hall explains, one of the most important aspects of viewing an object is not only interpretation, but the fixed position of the viewer. While fans will be looking at the same exact stage, the position of the viewer will change the way they see and understand the meaning behind this show. A fan along the right side of the triangle may only experience what they see; a fan that bought upper-level tickets may be able to fully embrace the prismatic and light show effect Perry intended.


Another view of the Prismatic World Tour stage. (Source: KatyPerry.com)

The content is the same, but the placement of the viewer will be different for every concertgoer.


About Christina Maxwell

I’m a young professional journalist with a dual B.A. degree in Radio-TV-Film and Journalism and I am currently working on my M.A. in Writing, specializing in Journalism and New Media Studies (both at Rowan University). Although my advanced degree allows me to have options in the future, for now, my main goal is finding a job in journalism. I am a journalist at heart. First hand knowledge, original reporting and precisive answers are what I strive for when I'm working. For the past two years, I have done freelance reporting with the Gloucester Township Patch, but my goal is to have a sustainable, consistent job in journalism.

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