We’re not in Kansas anymore

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I’ve often heard the phrase “things were so much simpler back then” passed through conversations among older generations reminiscing upon their lifestyles growing up. I do see this to be true, the variety of technologies, brands, models, developers and resources of today certainly initiate some degree of complication against what was once a simple ‘black and white experience’. Through the ‘black and white experience’ I describe the literal black and white tradition of film and newspaper in the simple, black and white way in which it was delivered to audiences. But I also use the term to describe the black and white experience of having a general product that was generalised as to be delivered to a common audience i.e. a supermarket supplying one common brand of milk or bread. That was what was made generally available to consumers, so that was what they consumed.

I liken this kind of experience to the experiences my mother describes of her growing up in the 1970’s. In regards to what was made available, consumers were limited in this sense. The fact that my mother and her siblings had to drive into the city to see a film at the cinema says just this. I think that now we take for granted the fact that we have access to a range of Hoyts and Greater Union franchises that are present within most Westfields.

My mother describes cinematic experiences as a rarity growing up- the family couldn’t afford to visit the cinemas every week, thus it was often an annual event which mostly took place within the summer holidays. The Herbie films were among my mothers favourites growing up. Advertisments catered to a more general audience, rather than being tailored to each individual genre and market segment.
In the 21st century we enter a more colourful world of option and variety in relation to what is made available to us. This in turn influences what we then expect as consumers and what producers and developers aim for when marketing to us. The greater the increase in quantitative masses of audiences, the greater the options that can be made readily available.

As more people invest in a product, brand or platform, taking the Apple iphone as a prime example of this with a huge movement of supporters- more can then be done to improve future models, ranges can be extended and greater research can be undertaken in regards to finding out what audiences desire and are looking to acquire. The very same goes for cinematic experiences. Industry professionals now analyse audiences of film and can segregate them to develop and innovate new film categories and distribution outlets ranging from 3D films, moonlight cinemas, drive-in’s, and my favourite- gold class. Greater Union also initiates specialised events such as Chicks at the flicks, Fathers and Mothers day events, Valentines day events and ‘bring your baby’ events. Audiences are molded into more specific fragments rather than a generalised mass of individuals whom the producer assumes all enjoy the same tastes and genres.

The introduction of new markets within cinema makes for the introduction of new audiences and new media spaces as an effect of this. It makes me wonder if my mother, whilst seated in the drive-in viewing Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo in black and white, knew what was ahead of her. We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore.

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References

Armstrong L, 2013. Personal Communication, 18 August 2013

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Big Brother is always watching… but we’re watching too (BCM240)

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This week’s topic encouraged us to explore the distinction between public and private spaces. What I achieved was the conclusion that much of the time (in this day and age) this distinction is somewhat blurred in terms of what may be entirely public or entirely private within a media space. Not to say that this is a negative characterstic of modern media- in many forms it makes mediums more interesting and open-ended and can allow for greater creativity and collaboration (from both audiences and creators) within the space.

Seeing as I inhale reality television like air, i’d like to focus on Big Brother Australia to demonstrate the way forms of space are painting grey over what was once black and white- the public completely separated from the private.

Big Brother Australia achieves this through:

-Public discussion foccusing on both public (Big Brother events, news, nominations) and more private matters (details about housemates, relationships between housemates, opinions about personalities)
-The private audience (at home) watching the public (the live audience within the Big Brother studio)
-The pubic watching the private (private matters within the house, i.e conversations and gossip) and making these public and no longer confined to the private
-Voting systems within the public (social media spaces) and private (phone voting)
-Individuals (the housemates) who once had a somewhat private space now constantly exposed to the public media space 24/7

Complicated? Yes. Clever, creative and interesting to watch? I think so (you may not agree). Big Brother really does fascinate me in the way it blends spaces and platforms together in so many ways, “as a media event with a whole host of other events surrounding, informing and altering it” (Spencer, 2002)

It’s no longer just a show or reality program- but more of what I call “a system of spaces”.

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Reference

Spencer, B, 2002 ‘Big Brother is watching: watching Big Brother in Australia’ Beth Spencer, Blogspot, March 2002, Retrieved 7/8/2013, URL: http://bethspencer.com/BigBrother.html

Home is where the automatic Wifi connection is (BCM 240)

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The term ‘space‘ can be used in reference to an area of location or distance, i.e a house, the space within a house, a room within a house. The term ‘media space‘, however, is used to describe “electronic settings in which groups of people can work together, even when they are not present in the same place”. This week I investigated more about both of these concepts, wanting to find evidence of how each of these play out in my life and how the two can interlink within certain settings and situations.

The home and the concept of a home wifi network is an interesting space to study in relation to media in that it combines both the physical, material attributes of space i.e shared space of rooms and a shared connection between electronic devices, with a more intangible connection relating to the people within the home, how they interact with each other and others outside the physical space of the home.

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Whilst watching my family and the way they use media and electronics around the house I noticed a few things. Whilst it may seem as though using separate laptops, ipads and iphones would create a divide within the space, it occurred to me that we do somehow make it work in the sense of a media space- sharing and discussing news and information within both senses of the space. This happens when Shae will text me despite us being in the same room because we are discussing something we don’t want the others to hear, when I call out to Jacob from another room to like my photo on instagram, when we watch each other trying to pass levels on Candy Crush, when we take photos of each other without them knowing and send them on Snapchat and when we check-in on facebook- a prime example of connecting the people with the space, whilst using media and creating an audience.