Hoovie member Fiona Henderson grew up in Vancouver but has lived on five continents and traveled to 17 countries. She’s an ESL teacher, and loves meeting people from all over the world and getting to know their cultures and languages. Her favourite film is Cinema Paradiso: “I haven’t watched it for about a decade though so I think I’m due for another viewing soon.”
Hoovie: What enticed you to attend the Hoovie film event at HCMA Architecture + Design? Was it the film itself or something else?
FH: I was intrigued to visit the venue, an architecture studio downtown, and watch and discuss a movie, California Typewriter, which was sort of a funeral dirge to the typewriter. I was excited to listen to people who would gather in such a space to dialogue about such things.
H: What did you think about the film?
F: Typewriter fanatics are eccentric, antisocial and mostly men who like the technology as well as what it represents. The death of the typewriter means that yes, some people are out of jobs, but [as] with the car companies laying off thousands of people to go with robotized production, the movie represents a sadness about any societal shifts towards greater efficiency, and it is a fact of life ever since the industrial revolution, or even before that. The death of the typewriter seems to be the kind of sad news that the eccentric and isolated bohemians this show is about really love to pine over, yet it makes their hobby that much more eccentric and isolated, so it somehow works in the long run!
H: Did you meet anyone interesting? What kinds of conversations did you have?
FH: I wanted to talk more with people, but this was a bit more of a listening experience for me. I really enjoyed the unison of clicking of typewriter keys, which in some ways replaced discussion, after the film.
H: Oh, right, The Regional Assembly of Text brought their typewriters for people to try out before and after the film!
F: Yes, [The typewriters] were for people to write letters with. It was a unique experience, and I would like to try a home-based Hoovie night next to get more conversation.
H: How did the setting itself shape the experience?
FH: The architecture studio had a lot of different spaces to dwell in. It was beautifully laid out . . . I was able to look at workspaces and displays during downtime after the film, or go into the front room to use a typewriter. Being in a creative and slick downtown workspace for a movie viewing was fascinating. The ability to shift a chair to face the person next to you, or to get up and walk around were benefits of the pop-up theatre, where things were moveable and space did not have to be so centered on the stage.
When there’s a stage, it doesn’t promote interaction, it provides a different experience altogether. Moviegoers are not active participants – unless they are at a showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show, where you dress up and sing along! But who does that anymore?
Maybe this Hoovie is a more democratic existence, where we don’t just sit back and get spoon-fed someone’s ideas and worldview. We can dialogue after and therefore situate ourselves in relation to the themes and ideas in the movie, aloud and with others. We can learn more about ourselves and each other. It is an eye-opening experience, not isolating and mind-numbing like “Netflix and chill.” If the movie is political, the discussion after might very well lead to action. What opportunity for democracy!
H: Where could you see this venture going? Bigger? More influential?
FH: As an educator, I see Hoovie offering discussion questions and suggested activities, and suggestions for how to host an effective showing. I think the movie showing package, along with documentation of the events or projects which are born of the discussion time, are how I see the growth of Hoovie. Growing it as if it comes with a guidebook of suggestions, and is a potential launchpad for other great creative projects.
H: How would you describe the ambiance and the crowd? Can you describe your impression, or details you noticed when you first entered?
FH: I noticed it to be mostly white [and] Gen Y. I was not surprised by this however.
H: Did you leave the experience feeling any different? How so?
FH: I was sentimental for a time past. As Gen X, I remember we used to always watch movies like this, with a group of friends, with discussions after.
H: A dream Hoovie setting?
FH: On a sailboat at night!
H: Any takeaways from the event?
FH: For a moment I wanted to get a typewriter! I also wanted to do more events like this.
Many thanks to Fiona for taking the time to sit for this interview and to join us for a Hoovie film event.
Photos by Pierre Gauthier and Hilary Henegar.