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How does one approach the clown? Silently, and from behind. The motif of the clown in popular internet culture is one we all know. A Clown-A-Gram Test addresses the clown debate head-on with a comprehensive study of six manifestations of the modern clown in the age of the Internet.
These six main archetypes as defined by artist Audrey Ammann are as follows: The Professional Clown, the Scary Clown, the Sexy Clown, the Male Rage Clown, the Insurrection Clown, and the Zen Clown. Each one formed after a survey that investigated pieces of transient data on the internet, such as memes, as well as formal sociological research papers. The intent of this work is to not only parse out the cast world of clown instances on the internet, but to also provide context to those on the outside. The piece takes place as a “personality quiz” that borrows language from the ever-popular quizzes that populate all social media platforms. As the viewer performs the quiz, they must progress through a series of personal questions, the answers from which establish identification with one of the clown archetypes. Once the quiz is complete, the viewer has the option to register themselves as a new clown through an imitation of the Clown Egg Registry process of clown makeup copywriter.
The inclination towards clowning in this piece comes from the artist’s long history of clowning as well as a fascination with the rise of “coulrophobia” ever since the Clown Scare of 2016. Because of her background, the artist has unique insight into the clown as a radically cathartic and affirming vehicle for identity. She hopes that with this piece, the viewer can see a different side of clowning that rewards the brave in radical absurdity.
So, clowns, what are they good for? A pincushion in the rodeo and a rich field of pseudo-psychological analysis that plays along with the wave of identity exploration tools like the Enneagram Test or the Myers Briggs test. Viewers can come away with an honorary title of clown as bestowed by the artist and apply this new identity as they see fit.