For The Love of Cinemas

Original Source Unknown-https://www.pinterest.com/pin/295196950546205955/
Original Source Unknown-https://www.pinterest.com/pin/295196950546205955/

I love going to the cinemas, don’t get me wrong. There are just some movies that need to be seen on the big screen like The Lord of the Rings or new advanced CGI films like Jurassic World. Now that I’m older, it seems as though I don’t go to the movies as much anymore. I could put this down to not having to be entertained during my school holidays any longer or that I can easily get access to movies online or through Foxtel. The last movie I saw at the cinemas was Paper Towns and before that, I can’t even remember.

Mum and I had been planning for a while to go and see Amy Shumer’s new film Trainwreck but it just never happened. Our plan was to originally see it on a Tuesday when tickets are only $13 but other things kept getting in the way. Relating all the factors that kept us from seeing the film to Torsten Hagerstrand’s Time Geography constraints, it is clear to see that no matter what we do everything has a constraint and we are really not as free to do as we wish. Hagerstands theory argued, using his space-time path model to demonstrate, that human spatial activity is often governed by limitations and not independent decisions (Corbett, 2001). Hagerstrand defined three categories of constraints (taken from Corbett, 2001):

“Capability: refers to the limitations on human movement due to physical or biological factors. Thus, for example, a person cannot be in two places at one time. A person also cannot travel instantaneously from one location to another, which means that a certain trade off must be made between space and time. Those with access to cars and bullet trains have a spatial-temporal advantage over those who are limited to their feet or bicycles for transportation. 

Coupling: refers to the need to be in one particular place for a given length of time, often in interaction with other people. This coincidence of space-time paths is described as “bundled” paths in a station’s tube. In other words, your space-time path must temporarily link up with those of certain other people to accomplish a particular task. This could mean anything from visiting the supermarket to going to work for the day.

Authority: is an area (or “domain”) that is controlled by certain people or institutions that set limits on its access to particular individuals or groups. For example, a person’s space-time path is normally not permitted to enter a sensitive military base or private club”.

One of the reasons mum and I couldn’t go to the cinemas was because of a capability constraint. Mum had to take my pop to the hospital and North Sydney. I texted mum on the day asking if she wanted to go but she was just too tired from the day and helping my pop. Authority constraints also affected us. Because we wanted to go on a Tuesday, as the ticket prices are cheaper, this limited the days in which we could go. Not only is price an issue in the cinema experience, but is also a constraint in everyday life e.g. buying clothes or owning a car. This is due to the wages which institutions ultimately set limits to, like Hagerstrand explained.

As mentioned before, I feel like nowadays I rarely go to the movies and I wonder if other people feel the same. According to Val Morgan and Co of Screen Australia (2015) in 2014 68% of Australians visited the cinemas in the last 12 months with an average of each person seeing 6.8 movies in the year. These statistics were at an all time high in 1996 with 72% of Australians going to the cinemas in 12 months with an average of 11.3 movies being viewed. Screen Australian (2015) also conducted research on which age brackets were most likely to attend the cinemas. 14-24 year olds were recorded with the highest number of visits but that percentage is down 7.5% from 1974 when the studies were first conducted. It did show though that the 50+ age group were the only group to have an increase in cinema attendance, from 42.1% in 1974 to 57.9% in 2014. Possibly because when these people were in their 30’s their attendance was high and as they’ve aged, they still go to the cinemas unlike those 50+ ages that were studied from the beginning in 1974 may not have grown up going to the movies.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 12.01.32 pm
Val Morgan and Co, Screen Australia 2015, http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/audiencescinemaattendxage.aspx

After looking at these figures, I’m really interested in assessing the ages around me next time I’m at the movies. I guess though there can be some factors that will affect which ages I would see for instance most 14 year old aren’t going to watch a replay of Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the cinemas just like I’m sure 70 year old grandparents are going to watch Bring It On All or Nothing.

References:

Corbett, J 2001, ‘Torsten Hagerstrand: Time Geography’, Center for spacially Intergrated Social Science, viewed 30th August 15, http://www.csiss.org/classics/content/29

Screen Australia 2015, Audiovisual Markets: Audiences, viewed 30th August 15, http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/audiencescinemaattendxage.aspx

Screen Australia 2015, Audiovisual Markets: Audiences, viewed 30th August 15, http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/audiencescinemaattend.aspx

Advertisements

Welcome To The Internet

internet
source: http://www.reactiongifs.com/welcome-to-the-internet/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=welcome-to-the-internet

On August 6 1991, the World Wide Web became available to the public (Bryant, 2011). Talking with my dad, Chris, I found that my household didn’t get the Internet until 1999. Even though dad admitted we had a computer in 1995, he said there was no need for it back then. I put this down to the fact that it was expensive and that their friends didn’t have to Internet so why did they need it. After searching for the price to run the Internet in 1995, it honestly seemed to be relatively cheap. Charged by the hour, some companies charged as little as $9.95 a month, which gave enough data to last 5 hours and every hour after that cost $2.95 (Forever Geek, 2007). Maybe in today’s society, that could become expensive, BUT back then I’m sure people weren’t spending every moment on their prehistoric computers. It wasn’t until 1999, when my brother started kindergarten, that we got a new computer and Internet connection. Mum recalls that our Internet provider was Iprimus and to this day I still remember that connection sound.

source: http://fundraisergrrl.tumblr.com/post/99671350901/how-my-ed-thinks-online-giving-works
source: http://fundraisergrrl.tumblr.com/post/99671350901/how-my-ed-thinks-online-giving-works

In my house now we have two laptops, three phones and a tablet connecting to our wireless Internet. The three phones also have their own 3G data. None of these belong to Chris, as he is absolutely clueless about technology and the Internet. Chris does use our family desktop computer, which has really become his computer. According to a study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2014), between 2012-13, 83% of people in Australia were Internet users and almost every user (97%) accessed the Internet from their homes (ABS, 2014). Personally, I believe this is due to the introduction of wireless Internet, where people are more likely to use their laptops or phones for Internet when at home to save money on other data plans.

For my week 2 blog, I interviewed my mum, Lisa, on her television memories as a child. This week I wanted to interview Lisa again and discuss her Internet habits as an adult. Lisa admits that she has always tried to “keep up with the Jones’ “ when it comes to new products. She always says to Chris (who still has a flip phone) “you need to keep up with technology otherwise you’ll fall too far behind”. Chris only just recently discovered “the hole in the wall” known as the ATM and online banking. Before that, he would go into a bank or transfer money between accounts by calling and entering numbers on the keypad.

seinfeld
source: http://seinfeldlessons.tumblr.com/post/47625635662/seinfeld-taught-me-ugh-just-ugh

This became a topic of interest with Lisa and we started to discuss the ways in which the Internet changed banking habits and paying the bills. Lisa said that before the Internet, her and Chris would share who paid the bills. As Chris worked at the council, it was easy for him to pay the council rates and it was easy for Lisa to call up and pay bills via a credit card. When online banking became available, Lisa was happy to learn how to use it. The responsibility moved to her, as she was able to set up specific accounts for certain bills. In doing this, it was easier for her just to pay the bills over the phone, as she knew how the accounts were set up. When paying bills online was introduced Lisa did this as well because Chris had no idea how.

In my tutorial, we shared our funny stories of where our modem was kept or memories of our own Internet use. Some of these stories re-jogged my memory of my Internet usage. Having dial-up Internet at the time, it is crazy to think back at how you could not use the landline phone whilst surfing the web. Something that also popped up for discussion was the human-like quality that we give our Internet. We personify our Internet by saying “where’s the Internet gone” if it suddenly cuts out, or by giving the modem its own table in the house. In my household, I think that the most arguing that goes on about the Internet is between Lisa, my brother Sam and I. For a moment last year, well lets says 6 months, our Internet would just ‘drop-out’. This caused endless arguments in our house, particularly when it came to selecting University tutorials. If too many people were using the Wi-fi, our connection would drop out so generally the conversation (more like yelling) would go like this, “No one use the Internet until 7:13, I have to pick a Uni tutorial”. Only recently, we finally got it fixed and our Wi-fi troubles have disappeared and the Internet is faster than ever. We are still waiting to be connected to the NBN but in all honesty, I’m glad we’re not as I have heard many issues from friends about how slow the Internet is. The Internet really has changed the ways in which we use media and the space in which we use our technologies, and for the better at that.

References:

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014, Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2012-13, viewed 24th August 15, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/8146.0Chapter32012-13

Bryant, M 2011, 20 years ago today, the World Wide Web opened to the public, The Next Web, viewed 24th August 15, http://thenextweb.com/insider/2011/08/06/20-years-ago-today-the-world-wide-web-opened-to-the-public/

Forever Geek 2007, What did Online Access cost (per hour) in 1995?, viewed 24th August 15, http://www.forevergeek.com/2007/04/what_did_online_access_cost_per_hour_in_1995/

Assessing Television Habits

giphy

To get our heads around collaborative ethnography, I think it’s best that we first define ethnography. Brian Hoey (2014), anthropologist, ethnographer and author says that “the term ethnography has come to be equated with virtually any qualitative research project where the intent is to provide a detailed, in-depth description of everyday life and practice”. Hoey then goes on to explain that ethnography provides a detailed cultural representation from an emic perspective. Emic basically means research taken from an insiders view. This is the basic understanding of ethnography, but what we want to look at is collaborative ethnography. “What’s the difference?” you say.

Luke Lassiter, professor of humanities at Marshal University, introduced the idea of collaborative ethnography in 2005. By this, he aimed to state that although ethnography itself is collaborative in nature he wants collaboration to be at the forefront when undertaking ethnographic studies and for collaboration to really be the main idea during studies or “center stage” as he puts it (2005). Lassiter points out that collaboration should be more than just between the ethnographer and their subject, it should be between other researchers also. It should include multiple authors, consultants and their communities as active collaborators.

So, why use collaborative ethnography to analyse television audiences? Don’t graphs and statistical data do that for us already? While standard research methods of statistics and data can be useful in gauging quantitative information around television and its audience it lacks, lets not say truth, but personality. You could measure how many times people watch a certain show or how many hours a day/week/month they watch TV but what those results really lack is emotion. Obviously it is quite difficult to measure emotion but as least that’s what ethnographers are for. To gain emotional insight into personal feelings about not only television shows and how they make them feel, but the feeling that television in general gives them or how they felt when they used to watch a certain program. Having completed an interview with my mum for last week’s blog post, you can see how much emotion one person can have tied to one show. To them, television doesn’t just represent a funny show that was once on but it represents a time and place, maybe of better memories or maybe of worse.

One thing I have always thought about television audiences and ratings was how do they really know how many people watched that one particular show. How do they know that over 2.2 million people in Australia watched the Masterchef finale? How do they know that The Bachelor had 898,000 viewers on its first night? Do they phone people mid show to take a tally? These numbers, which are calculated by Oztam, are all quantitative. They don’t recgonise the viewing habits of the audience. What if you’re flicking between channels does that count as watching the show? What if you’ve recorded the show and planned on watching it later. Are those habitual ways anaylsed by numbers? This is where ethnographic studies can lend a helping hand media and communication students and experts. What we want to know is HOW you watch your TV. Although these questions really have to be summed up by numbers, the numbers represent a much larger area emotion, in comparison to just “how many people watched this show”. In a study by Yahoo7 they have found that the way we watch our programs has changed with 52% of millennial’s watching TV shows on mobile devices, which is up from 17% in 2013. 53% of respondents said that they regularly use their smartphones or tablets to watch TV shows. And, that the majority of viewers (75%) use their mobile phones to check facts, storylines, trivia and statistics on the programs they’re watching. Isn’t that an interesting little statistic you never would have thought of considering.

It can be hard at times when wanting to analyse ethnographic results, for them to not end up in a graph or table. This can be some of the limits with ethnography on such a wide scale. It can be hard to represent culture and individual feelings so I guess humans put it down to what is more humanly understandable… statistics. It has proven hard to me to clearly find room for ethnographic results in large quantities, which are useable for academic support in a journal or similar. By this I mean that it is hard to prove yourself without a lot of back up and the easiest way to do that is with data and graphs.

References:

B&T Magazine 2015, TV Habits Moving Mobile Says New Yahoo7 Survey, viewed 17th August 15, http://www.bandt.com.au/media/survey-aussie-tv-viewing-habits-moving-mobile

Hoey, B 2014, “A Simple Introduction to the Practice of Ethnography and Guide to Ethnographic Field notes”, Marshall University Digital Scholar, pp. 1-10.

Lassiter, LE 2005, ‘Defining a Collaborative Ethnography’, The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 15-24, http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/468909.html

OZTAM 2015, Consolidated Metropolitan Top 20 Programs 5 City Ranking Report – Free To Air Only Week 31 2015 (26/7/15 – 1/8/2015), viewed 17th August 15, http://www.oztam.com.au//documents/2015/OzTAM-20150726-EMetFTARankSumCons.pdf

“Don’t Make Me Get All Nostalgic”

 first tv broadcast

Television in Australia had experimentally been around since 1929 but it wasn’t until the 1940s when talk of putting the television into mainstream media happened. The first broadcast was on the 16th of September 1956 when Bruce Gyngell welcomed Australian homes to TCN-9 with “Good evening, and welcome to television”. This introduction of television came just in time for the 1956 Olympics and since then has broadcasted many famous and significant moments. Not to mention some Aussie classic soapies.

I interviewed my mum, Lisa (48), about her childhood experiences of television and it really made me realise how far television has come in a realistically short time. We sat down and relived Lisa’s television memories. She has fond memories of the television. Not just the shows but also the feelings that are connected to the time in the 1970’s. She reminisces about the days when her family unit was whole and one big happy family. At the time, she was living in Mortdale Heights with her mum, dad and older sister. She vividly remembers always having a TV in her life. Even from a young age she had a black and white TV. In 1973, the black and white TV moved into her room when the family made way for the new colour TV. She was very lucky because either her parents or sister had TV’s in their rooms. It’s funny to think that TV has been in my life since I was born and sometimes, I take it for granted. Never would I have thought about who got the TV in their room. Lisa remembers that their new television was huge. It had touch sensitive buttons and rolled around on a chrome stand. She said it was the very best Norde Mende German TV. The high tech TV was in the center of the lounge room and sometimes had a vase of flowers on top or next to it.

spectra_color_l2ux_4_577_d_438690
Lisa’s exact colour TV

When interviewing Lisa, you could feel the excitement in her voice when she talked about her favourite shows. Great memories come flooding back for her. This emotion is quite similar to some of the conversations her and I have about our current television addictions. I asked her where she would be seated when watching the TV. “On the floor”, she said. This gave me a mental image of the photos you see when you Google “old school television”. It really was what it’s like in those photos. She recalls catching the train home from school, stopping by the chicken shop to get hot chips and then setting herself self in for the night in front of the TV. Some favourites of hers included Young Talent Time, The Don Lane Show and Hey Hey It’s Saturday. These were shows that her family would watch all together. She laughs at how she used to watch Number 96 in her bedroom when she was 10 years old so her parents wouldn’t find out (apparently a show too rude for 10 year olds).

I wanted to hear from Lisa about any great new stories in her young television watching life. She admits she was far too young to remember the moon landing (dad does though), or anything of great significance. But, she does vividly remember Diana and Charles’ wedding on the 29th of July 1981. She says she was making her friend a birthday cake at the time and in between cooking she would watch the wedding, but admits that the ceremony went forever. She was exactly 15 at the time, and like me, loved the royals. I asked if the kitchen and lounge room were joined by she said that they were very separate so that was why she had to run between rooms. How the times have changed with open house living, such as in my house where you can cook and watch TV at once.

Diana and Charles' Wedding
Diana and Charles’ Wedding

What I gathered from interviewing Lisa was how excited and nostalgic TV made her feel. I think television programs reflect a time in people’s lives and don’t necessarily act as just a form of entertainment. They shape the way we reflect on our friends, families and our homes, which all make up a large part of us. It was interesting to notice continuity in programs the family would all watch together and then the shows that you didn’t want to watch with your parents at all. I hope when I’m older and my children ask to interview me about this exact topic, memories come flooding back, and only appreciate those memories more. I hope that reminiscing on my youth brings back as much joy as when I see my mum talk about hers.