Personal Devices and Public Spaces

img_0886
So have you ever seen someone walking around fully immersed in their phones or really any kind of personal device completely oblivious to what’s going on around them? Maybe, like myself, you’ve seen someone so preoccupied with their phone they’ve almost run into a pole and then you’ve had to try really hard not to laugh and look like a complete weirdo sitting alone at a bench at uni?

Well maybe you don’t have a story that specific like I do but we’ve all done it, and if you say you haven’t then either you’re like my 65 year old Grandmother and technologically impaired or a liar or I mean maybe you’re one of the very few left that can restrict themselves to just walking while walking, it’s hard I know. Personally I feel like sometimes people who always walk around on their phones or other devices constantly are missing out on life around them and sometimes poles right in front of them.

Recently with the release of Pokemon Go this has become a more increasingly prominent issue especially at the university. As my boyfriend has told me, there a SO many Pokemon at the uni and Pokestops and all of that, but not knowing anything about Pokemon and having it all explained to me I can see now why people might be paying more attention to their phones while walking around the University.

For this weeks task we were asked to take a photograph of someone using a personal device in a public space. Unfortunately  I wasn’t able to get a picture of anything like that, the photo I took was from a bench across the duck pond. It’s not totally clear – I was trying to avoid looking like a complete weirdo, alone and talking a picture – but the picture is of other students of the University of Wollongong sitting on the grass outside building 67, playing on their phones, working on uni work, listening to music. All doing something on their personal device in a public space.

Of course there are a number of laws and ethics that come into play when taking photos of people in public that need to be taken into consideration especially for this task. In a photo such as mine, the privacy of those in the photo is kept in tact as you cannot specifically identify anyone in the photo, but in other cases if the face of a person is clear and can be identified then their privacy rights are breached if you do not have their permission. When taking a photo think of it this way, if you were the one having the picture taken of you against your knowledge would you like it?

Laws regarding the privacy of others when taking photos include things such as not being able to take photos of people at the beach or in some schools but lots of this just comes down to being ethical and the people taking the photos to choosing to do the right thing at the end of the day.

 The Arts Law Centre in this weeks readings talks about this as well as the other limitations and rules that should be used and followed when talking pictures such as respecting people to making sure you get a persons permission before taking their photo particularly when the images involve children or going on private property.

So whether you’re using your phone in a public space to take pictures, play Pokemon Go or simply just texting always think about whats going on around you. Make sure to watch where you’re walking and most importantly be mindful of the privacy and rights of those people around you who could be pictured when you’re taking that aesthetic photo for your Instagram.

My Cinema Experience

So this week we got to go to the movies to write this post, the movies you guys. How is that homework?!

So for the second time, I went to see Suicide Squad with my boyfriend who was unsurprisingly more than happy to be dragged along. Overall it was a successful trip to the cinema, but that could have something to do with the fact that it was a Tuesday night and there was about 10 people in total in the entire cinema. But everyones idea of a successful or unsuccessful cinema trip is different.

I personally love going to the movies late on a weekday. It’s quite, theres no one chewing loudly behind me or asking stupid questions to the person next to them about the movie who has seen just as much of the movie as they have and do not know the answer, no one is kicking my seat and most importantly I don’t have to sit next to someone I don’t know for an hour and a half who’s arm is on my arm rest as well as their own.

But I also like the feeling of a full cinema, the excitement in the room to watch the movie, the chatter among movie goers before and after the film, that kind of movie experience whether it be a premiere at midnight or just one of the first days the movie is out its something everyone experiences and its never quite like any other movie experience.

To get to the cinema can sometimes be difficult, many things can get in our way and Hagerstrand identifies three categories of constraints, limiting an individual to perform any actions they want, thus influencing actions of people.

  1. Capability(can I get there): referring to the limitations on human movement due to natural causes. We are only capable to do what we can, managing space and time; thus those with cars and faster public services have a ‘spatial- temporal advantage’ over those who don’t. (Corbett, 2001).
  2. Coupling(can I get there at the right time?): refers to the need ‘to be in one particular place for a given length of time, often in interaction with other people’ (Corbet, 2001). Our schedules and path must link and plan with another’s in order to participate in a task.
  3. Authority(am I allowed to be there?): referring to the laws and rules that are set in place; restricting one from their actions.

For myself these three constraints came into play for my cinema visit. A capability constraint was could we get there in time, a coupling constraint would be did we have a way to get to the cinema and an authoritative constraint were we allowed to be in the cinema for example, was there an age limit on the film.

The cinema experience is something I don’t think is going to disappear anytime soon. So many people still love and enjoy going to the movies and having that experience, and no matter the price I think that its going to be an experience they pay for time and time again.

The Internet, Changing our Lives

A few weeks ago we were asked to ask someone older than us; our mum, dad, grandparents, whoever and discuss with them what television was like for them when they were growing up. So for this weeks task I returned to my mother and bugged her to answer more of my questions this time, about what her households access to the internet was like.

She was unclear on the exact time that internet became a ‘thing’ when she was younger and my Mum is quite young  but to the best of her knowledge it was some time when she was in high school that dial up internet was first introduced into the world. Of course computers were around but internet, a way to get ‘online’, the world wide web, it was brand new and interesting and apparently just the coolest thing ever.

Sure the internet is pretty cool now, but for many of us internet has always been around. Yes, of course I still remember having dial up internet but my whole life I’ve always had that access to the internet and growing up with school assignments etc. Having the internet made it all that much easier to do these things. When I asked my Mum about this sort of thing when she was younger she said that that’s what the library was for. Instead of just Googling it, she used textbooks and searched the library for the right thing.

She also said she didn’t have the internet at home when she lived with her parents, it wasn’t until she moved out that she had the internet in her home. It just wasn’t something that they needed when she was living at home. When you compare that to what its like in homes now, the internet is in almost everything we do at home, of course we have WIFI now and instead of it taking several minutes to get online we can be online in seconds.

We use the internet to stream Netflix to our TV’s, the WIFI allows us to scroll through our Facebook Newsfeed at home without using all our data, our computers use the internet to do anything online or even back-up our computers to the cloud.

The internet has changed not only these things but even the way we consume television, that television space talked about a few weeks ago, its become a lot different because of the internet. It was not an immediate change but gradually over time it has changed the way we consume television. Even right now as I write this post I’m streaming Netflix to my television. I don’t very often watch television with my family in the way my mum would watch television with hers. Each member of my family has a seperate Netflix account and we watch what ever we want but never together. That kind of closeness that my mother felt to her family watching television is not something my family feels when we watch television together.

The internet has become a big part of our world, even 20 years ago let alone when my Mum was younger it was never as big of a part of her world as it is ours. It has all changed so much and is changing so many of our spaces in not only our households but just everywhere, it is well and truely changing our lives. For better or for worse? You’ll have to be the judge of that.

Stop. Collaborate and Listen

Ethnography is the scientific description of peoples cultures and their customs, habits and mutual differences. And as Luke Lassiter suggests ethnography is by definition collaborative. Although in he discusses two different forms of ethnography; reciprocative and collaborative. This weeks main focus in the lecture was on collaborative ethnography.

Reciprocation Ethnography entails an act of return, a giving back for something received. In the ethnographic process, this sets up a model of exchange where one thing granted yields an appropriate reciprocal response.

Collaborative Ethnography is an approach to ethnography that deliberately and explicitly emphasizes collaboration at every point in the ethnographic process, without veiling it. Collaborative ethnography, then, is both a theoretical and a methodological approach for doing and writing ethnography. The most advantageous point to collaborative ethnography would be the creation of a better understanding of peoples’ cultures.

An example of collaborative ethnography is reflecting, sharing, discussing and getting a better understanding of the culture of others by reading the blog posts of our peers from last weeks task about how television media was watched and consumed in the homes of a member of their family. Whether it be the stories of their parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles any linkage between qualitative research to paint a larger portrait of a particular culture or idea is all collaborative ethnography.

My blog for last week was centred on the consumption of television by my mother and her family when we was a child and after reading some of the other posts by people it was clear that things I discussed with my mother were also similar to some of the things others discussed with their chosen interviewee. Even from my own experiences watching television with my family, I have experienced all these similar feelings of nostalgia and connection to my family through us watching television together. Realising these similarities by reading these similar stories is also collaborative ethnography.

All this collaborative ethnography made it very clear that television played a much larger role in homes than just another piece of entertainment technology. The television played a role of a physical space where families bonded and enjoyed each others company. By personally participating in some collaborative ethnography is has really helped me have a deeper understanding of the concept of collaborative ethnography and also understand peoples feelings and attitudes about television in the past.

References:
University of Chicago, 2005, An excerpt from The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography, University of Chicago, viewed 11 August,<http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/468909.html>

Memories of the Television

I had a conversation with my mum about what TV was like for her as a child and growing up. My mum grew up in the Sutherland Shire with her 2 brothers, sister and mum and dad. When my mum was growing up colour television was already in homes and had been for two years. So unfortunately she had no cool stories of what it was like to experience black and white television and the development of television media before the colour TV.

When I asked her about what memories she had of watching television and the television in the house while growing up with less than 30 seconds hesitation she replied with a smile on her face “What do I remember about television as a child? Mostly I just remember that because we only had one television and I was the youngest, I never got to choose what we watched and because our television had a clicker to change the channels instead of a remote I was always the one who always had to get up to change the channel”.

Television played a bigger role throughout her early childhood than it did as she grew older and spent much more time outdoors and with friends. So although the TV may have not have played a big role while growing up it definitely played a significant one and she has plenty of memories that in one way or another involve the household television.

My mum recalled weekends, particularly early Saturday mornings, being the only way she was able to choose what was watched on the TV and so on these mornings she would get up and sit on her beanbag on the floor of the rumpus room and watch the morning cartoons until the rest of the family got up. She told me as a child she remembers watching a lot of old school Play School but as she got older her favourite show became Danger Mouse. She was excited to tell me that recently a reboot of the show had started to air for a new generation of children.

She recalled fondly sitting with her siblings some days after school when they weren’t sent outside to play and watching television till their dad got home and then choosing what to watch became his decision from then onwards. From MacGyver to M.A.S.H in my mum’s words she had to ‘endure’ it all because if she wanted to watch television that was what she watched whether she liked it or not.

Finally, I asked her if there were any moments watching television that she remembered particularly and instead of answering with what I expected would be her response with something like watching her first Olympics, she replied “I do remember when I was about nine and the whole family sat down and watched a movie called The Emerald Forest together. I can’t remember what the movie was about or anything that happened in it, but I just remember sitting around with my family and watching”

Not only has the television itself become incredibly different in relation to size, shape and quality but the ways people as a family experience television has changed as well. I know in my home personally, it is very rare that I sit down with my family and we watch TV together, having a TV in my room ensures I always get to decide what I watch and thanks to the remote I never have to get up from the comfort of my bed to change the channel.

Me-dia Space

When asked “where are you in your lives now?’ during this week’s lecture it really hit close to home for me. This has been a question on my mind for quite a while now. About to turn 20 in two weeks I have found myself having a, what I would only call a ‘quarter life crisis’ for no reason at all. But as I get closer to a new decade and having to officially accept that now I am an adult and I have to act like one, I realised the furthest I’ve been from home was the schoolies trip I went on 2 years ago instead of the European vacation I dreamed about, I worry about the little amount of money I have every time I check my bank account and pretty much if it was something I could think and worry about, I did, I over-thought about it until every possible outcome was thought about.

But in this current point in my life what have I experienced while being in a ‘media space’? Well for starters I am constantly on my phone, no matter how hard I try I can’t put it down. I’m addicted and when I’m not using it its always in my hand or always within 30cm of my person. When I wake up in the mornings it’s the social media rounds: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter. Five minutes later ill check again just in case something new has happened, even though it’s likely it hasn’t. Then I’ll go about my morning but no later than 30 minutes later I’m back checking my phone again. If I go longer than three hours without checking Facebook, I consider it to be a huge accomplishment for myself. For me, personally, doing this, every morning, afternoon, thirty minutes, whatever the time makes me feel connected me with the world, to my friends, to the celebrities I follow on Instagram.

Where ever I go during the day I’m always connected to the media space in one way or another. I’ll be on my computer while I’m at uni, on my phone while I’m walking to my next class or waiting for the bus back to the train station. The only time I can think of when I am truly disconnected from the media space is the 8 hours of sleep I get at night if I’m lucky. My degree requires me to blog, tweet and be a part of this media space constantly, although I don’t think that if I weren’t doing my degree I would be less involved in the media space as I am now. Perhaps we’ve all become to consumed in our media, only talking to each other via text or when our main form of communication become tagging our best friends in memes on Facebook. We are all constantly in a media space and we all have our own experiences.

 

Research Proposal

Reality television has gradually taken over a vast majority of all programmes on television today. There is more dating, renovations, cooking, singing and auction hunting than ever on our televisions then there was when reality television first became popular in the early 2000’s. Since the explosion of reality television in Australia, the population has watched twenty four complete strangers enter a house for three months with no outside communication on Big Brother, teams compete to prove their kitchen rules and a bachelor simultaneously date twenty five women to find his future wife.

According to an article published on news.com in January of 2015, the author Colin Vickery calculated that between channels Seven, Nine and Ten an estimated 1500 hours of reality television made within the country alone would be broadcast to Australians last year. This is before the addition of reality shows from other countries including shows such as Geordie Shore from the UK and Duck Dynasty or Keeping up with the Kardashians from the US.

While the overall appeal of reality television has declined in Australia over the years, with the cancellation of Big Brother and the low ratings of renovation show House Rules last year, many Australians are still obsessed. Everyone loves to indulge in a bit of reality television, it’s a very common guilty pleasure for many all around the world and even though it’s rare that a grown man will openly admit that they love a bit of Real Housewives, we all do it! Personally, I love Keeping up with the Kardashians. It doesn’t matter if I watched it last week and at the end thought that was the most wasteful forty minutes of my week, I just can’t get enough, I’m back again the week after ready for more! I have that curiosity to watch week after week so I can truly keep up with the Kardashians.

But how accurate and fair are these shows at representing the real reality that we experience every day? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that some if not most reality television shows are scripted but to what degree are the other reality shows you can’t tell are scripted, scripted? These questions have always been a curiosity of mine and so it was decided they were going to be the main focus of my research project. The primary question I will propose is ‘is reality television a good/fair representation of reality and how much to a degree do you think reality television is scripted?’

Using the cancellation of Big Brother and how viewers lost interest over the years when it became very obvious how scripted the show really was and singing show The Voice which currently seems to be unscripted and has real rewards for contestants when the show finishes as case studies I will investigate my proposed question using various research tools.

A majority of my research will be conducted as qualitative data through the use of surveys, focus groups and interviews where open-ended and closed-ended questions will be asked to other students from the University of Wollongong to gather the information necessary and relevant for my project. Questions will include those such as whether students believe reality television is a good and/or fair representation of reality and also how much of reality television today is scripted. I will also ask participants what shows they believe are and aren’t scripted that are currently on television including those from other countries and why they think reality television is scripted instead of letting shows play out like real reality.  Privacy of participants will be protected throughout my primary research and nothing will be disclosed without the participant’s permission beforehand. The option of anonymity will be available and not all question asked of participants will be compulsory to answer if uncomfortable with sharing answers.

Ultimately through my research I am aiming to determine what makes reality television so appealing to viewers, if viewers realise their favourite show might be completely false, made up and nothing like reality and why certain reality shows are scripted but others aren’t and if shows are scripted to what degree.

References:

Vickery, C 2015, ‘Aussie viewers will be swamped with more than 1500 hours of reality TV shows in 2015’, News.com, 26 January, viewed 21 March, <http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/reality-tv/aussie-viewers-will-be-swamped-with-more-than-1500-hours-of-reality-tv-shows-in-2015/news-story/7074446f625dbac50e10b83dcbf815ab>

Rupel, D 2016, ‘How Reality TV Works’, Writers Guild of America, viewed 21 March 2016, <http://www.wga.org/organizesub.aspx?id=1091>

Adalian, J 2015, ‘The Boom Days of Reality TV are Over’, Vulture, viewed 21 March 2016, <http://www.vulture.com/2015/09/reality-tv-boom-days-are-over.html#>

The Mysterious ‘Sugarman’ and Music Censorship

This week during the BCM111 lecture on ‘Music and Resistance’ we viewed the documentary film ‘Searching for Sugarman’. Within the first five minutes I was intrigued by the mysterious tale of ‘Rodriguez’ and I needed to know more.

Rodriguez AKA Sixto Diaz Rodriguez is a Mexican-American folk musician whose music was popular mainly in South Africa in the 1970’s. You might not know of him but you’ve most likely heard his song ‘Sugarman’. It was remixed by Australian duo Yolanda be Cool (also known for the 2010 song ‘We No Speak Americano’) released in November 2014. The song peaked at number 14 in the Australian ARIA charts, in Australia this is the most recognition Rodriguez has received for his work and the song went platinum after sales exceeded 70,000 copies.

The Yolanda Be Cool ‘Sugarman’ Remix

The Original ‘Sugarman’ by Rodriguez

The  documentary watched in the lecture ‘Searching For Sugarman’ shows the efforts of two Rodriguez fans; Stephan ‘Sugar’ Segerman and Craig Bartholomew-Strydom in their search for truth about the musicians rumored death, who he really was and if he wasn’t dead what happened to him. After extensive searching including deeply looking into song lyrics the two find Rodriguez alive and well living in Detroit.

The documentary won several awards in 2013 awards season including a BAFTA for best documentary, an OSCAR for best documentary feature and the film also went on to win the World Cinema Special Jury Prize.

The film was made for the Sundance Film Festival, it was directed by a Swedish director, Malik Bendjelloul, produced by Swedish and British Men, detailing two South Africans journey in search for a Mexican-American songwriter. I personally think this makes the movie an excellent example of world cinema another topic we have covered in our BCM111 lectures over the past six weeks.

According to Stephan ‘Sugar’ Segerman Rodriguez’ album ‘Cold Fact’ also became the soundtrack to many South Africans lives in the mid 70’s, it became the anthem of the revolution and helped the South African citizens think differently about their situation.

When Rodriguez’ song ‘Sugarman was released in 1970 is was even banned from most radio stations in South Africa because of its references to drugs. Not only was the track put on the ‘avoid list’, as seen in the film some radio stations even went as far as to actually scratch the area of the vinyl where the song would be to assure that it really couldn’t be played.

Of course when word about this ban got out to the public is inevitably made the album more desirable in South Africa.

Just think, how many songs and albums that you listen to and hear on the radio each day today would be able to be played on the radio if the ban on certain songs was still in place?

Swear words and direct references to drugs and sex are still censored out of music on radios today, just think what it would be like if the censorship committee was still in place worldwide.

Coachella: The Cultural Appropration Festival

“Cultural appropriation” is defined as the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of another culture. Summer in America means ‘festival season’ and this includes The Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival held each year in the the Coachella Valley in the Colorado Desert. With festival season comes a whole lot of cultural appropriation and each year festival goers are decked out in faux leather, war paint, Native American Headdresses, Bindi’s and Kimonos just to name a few.

One of the most popular ‘fashions’ and biggest acts of cultural appropriation at Coachella is the Native American Headdress.

                                   http://www.thefashionspot.com

Traditionally the Native Headdress is a very important part of the Native American Culture, typically made of beautiful bird feathers, it is more symbolic than anything else, but not anyone within the tribe could wear the headdress. It was reserved for the most powerful, well respected and influential member of the tribe. Each time this member of the tribe committed a brave act, a feather was added to the headdress. This meant that the more feathers on the headdress the more powerful the wearer.  Non-native wearers seem to be unaware of the headdresses heritage and the offense it causes to Natives when they are worn.

Jessica R. Metcalfe, creator of Native American blog and boutique Beyond Buckskin stated “The headdress is a sacred, important symbol to us. And it’s still a tradition that is practiced in our communities… Whenever you have celebrities or major companies misusing the sacred headdress, that is a direct way of destroying our culture.”

Another example of cultural appropriation at Coachella would be the wearing of the Bindi. #reclaimthebindi is a campaign started by anonymous women aiming to educate, empower and create culture appreciation. The campaign was started coincidentally at the same time as festival season started and Hindu and South Asian women posted selfies online using the hashtag #reclaimthebindi to fight back against the cultural appropriation and show the world that their culture is more than just a fashion statement.

The Bindi since ancient times has been the visually fascinating in all form of body decoration in India. The word Bindi is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Bindu’ and suggests the mystic third eye of a person. The Bindi was originally a insignia of a married woman and today many Hindi women wear a Bindi because of its origins based on Indian mythology.

The positioning of the Bindi alone is significant, the area between the eyebrows is said to be the seat of latent wisdom. Traditionally the Bindi is a red dot but can feature jewels. These are the types of Bindi’s worn by many celebrities such as Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez, both of these celebrities stirred up controversy after wearing the Bindi.

http://www.zimbio.com

Overall I feel that cultural appropriation is a negative thing, these traditions and culture are sacred and in cases such as The Coachella Music Festival, the non-native wearers of these cultural ‘fashions’ are simply wearing them for the fashion statement.

So what are your thoughts on cultural appropriation? Is it okay? Should Coachella and other music festivals put a dress code in place to prevent cultural appropriation?

Globalisation: Helping or Hindering?

Last week if you had asked me what globalisation was I would have stuttered through some kind of answer that only danced around the edges of what gobalisation really is, essentially not really answering the question but answering it enough that you didn’t ask me anymore about it.

But today if you were to ask me what globalisation was, I would be able to give you a better answer, one that wasn’t just the ramblings of someone dodging a difficult question.

So what is globalisation?

“Globalisation refers to an international community influenced by technological development and economic, political and military interests. It is characterised by a worldwide increase in interdependence, interactivity interconnectedness and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler 2012, p 458)

Within this is the five ‘scapes’ that explore the Global Cultural Flow used by Arjun Appadurai:
1. the Ethnoscape: is essentially the movement of people, from tourists to migrants they all fall under this ‘scape’.
2. the Technoscape: is the global distribution of technology, this ‘scape’ is where the example of the development of the ability to instantaneously communicate and exchange information falls.
3. the Financescape: this ‘scape’ is the global flow of capital, stock, currency, commodities etc.
4. the Mediascape: is closely related to the ideoscape, the mediascape deals with ‘the mass distribution of electronic capabilities required for the dissemination of information, and the images created by this media’ (Appadurai) to put it simply it can be understood as the many media outlets such as television, radio, newspaper etc.
5. the Ideoscape: according to Appadurai the ideoscape is the global flow of ideologies.

So what is globalisation doing for us? Is it helping us develop as a ‘global community’ or is it hindering us? Many people have some very different opinions on this, and as discussed in my tutorial this week and i’m assuming many of the other tutorials this week there are quite a few pros and cons of globalisation.

What I feel are ‘pros’ of Globalisation:
– Cheaper prices and better availability on goods and services – Access to new cultural products an experiences.
– Better understanding of foreign values, creating less stereotypes and misconceptions.
– Instant access to information from anywhere around the world.
– Governments can learn from each other.

What I feel are ‘cons’ of Globalisation:
– Many countries don’t have resources to develop and ‘compete’
– Westernisation of many cultural places meaning many places lose there distinct features in order to make tourists and migrants feel more at home
– Jobs in developed countries are lost and moved to lower cost countries putting many out of jobs.

I’m not going to bore you with my full opinion and views on globalisation, I’ll let you decide your stance on it for yourself. To finish this post I found a short video by ‘Explainity’ that will hopefully help give a little more information on what globalisation is and how it works!

Thanks for reading!

References:
O’Shaughnessy M & Stadler J, 2012, ‘Globalisation’, Media and Society, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 458

Appadurai A, 1996, ‘Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalisation’

Image: Globalisation. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2013.