art-research and videos, presented at the Symposium “communi(cati)on of crisis”, PI Institute for Live Arts, Nafpaktos, 20-25 june 2011

“Clown interviews” is an artistic investigation initiated by viki semou and catherine grau. It looks at the potential of the CLOWN as a figure of reading, reacting to, and embodying crisis. In the frames of the project, clowns are asked to respond as clowns and as people-being-clowns to ‘what is crisis’ and ‘how to deal with it’.


#1 Rosy de lux / Raquel Rives, #2 Clolonel / C., M., and Y., #3 Psychopath / Ian


Communicating with their bodies, actions and gestures clowns operate on the periphery of the power structures of language, offering new reading through marginalized forms of communication. Maybe this is a reason why they are usually perceived as figures on the edge of the society.

Like the fool in Shakespeare’s work, clowns are in a position of ‘commenting’ the ‘main’ action. They mirror it with humor or tragedy. How can this mirrored image be enlightening for the understanding of this ‘main’ action? Could it be a starting point for the interaction with or reaction to or even subversion of it?

A clown is also seen as a figure in a permanent state of crisis, directly linking situational readings with personal experience and always taking the plunge in facing inherent failure. So, how can the clown contribute to a discourse on the theme of crisis? What does crisis mean for a clown? How can the clown connect with all the different scales in which a crisis can take place? Could they maybe show us the way out of a society/situation of a permanent crisis? And how can we begin to understand crisis within a crisis continuum? Could we learn how to deal with crisis using clown techniques?

We asked a professional clown, a clown-activist group and a clown-performer-artist to reflect and respond to these questions as clowns and as people-being-clowns. Their responses resulted in 6 videos.