Some background on the structure and content of this site:

In 2008, I adopted "STOPPING THE SHOW" as the main title of a practice-led research project on the stop-and-start-rhythm of silent slapstick shorts produced by the Mack Sennett Comedies studio between 1917 and 1933. Initially intended as conventional film-historical research, this project soon fanned out into a wide range of research methods and output formats – from film-theoretical essays to stunt performances. This is a short guide to the components on the site:

While examining source material pertaining to slapstick comedy, trick photography, gag strategies, and comic concepts, I came across a wealth of elusive and inspiring terms that were used in cinema circles in the 1920s – possibly in vogue at the Sennett studios. Connecting the words to possible meanings explains not only the technicalities of making movies but also defines the slapstick spirit of my research.

A selection of words was assembled in the artist book DISLEXICON of slapstick comedy, funny cinematography, and very special effects, published by Mer. PaperKunstHalle in 2011. Further reading under the heading DISLEXICON.
DISLEXICON-Live is the performative version in which I test and try out facts and assumptions that surround slapstick comedy filmmaking. The 75 minute talk is animated with film clips, demonstrations, living postcards, recipes, songs, and a rare Sennett home movie. The show is available for booking, please contact me by mail on: hilde dot dhaeyere at hogent dot be.

On invitation by artist Miet Warlop, some slapstick concepts, comedy structures, and film stunts were tested before a live audience. TALK SHOW is the resulting 35 minute stunt-lecture-performance that traveled to venues in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany in 2010 and 2011. Some information and images are assembled under the heading TALK SHOW in the column on the left.

Clicking on the heading STOPPING THE SHOW brings more information and some sample pages of the doctoral thesis that was published in the Fall of 2012. It explores cinematographic aspects of the motion pictures produced by the Mack Sennett Comedies studio between 1917 and 1933, and analyses the significance of girls, color, and news in slapstick comedy. The PhD was funded by the Research Fund of University College Ghent and supervised by Hans op de Beeck (KASK) and Daniel Biltereyst (UGent). Members of the jury were Vanessa Toulmin (U of Sheffield), Rob King (University of Toronto, CA; Columbia U, NY), Tom Paulus (U Antwerp), Johan Grimonprez, and Christel Stalpaert (UGent).

The film-historical research unearthed, among other (re)discoveries, that two-color Technicolor material was inserted into a series of Sennett Bathing Girl shorts. Four of the surviving shorts with Technicolor footage became the subject of an international restoration project listed under THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE.

For every short rediscovered, more material is reported lost. In 2013, I started to restage missing footage based on the original production papers. Further reading under LOST SHOTS.

Other photographs and video works that result from artistic, comedic and technical quests are collected as VERY SPECIAL EFFECTS.

In January 2013, I started a postdoctoral research project titled SNOW WHITE BATHING BEAUTY. Its components are THE ORIGINAL SNOW WHITE or Cinema-to-Graphics and SCREEN DANCE. This is the section I am working on right now, the site will be updated when relevant.