Reconnecting with State of Play

Digital Asia

Re-examining ‘State of Play’ and looking through others blogs, I realised that a lot of people were unaware of e-sports and were surprised about many of the culture’s aspects, including myself. Before this encounter, I understood the addictive aspect of online gaming but never considered it as an actual competitive sport that was recognised with its own leagues. Watching the documentary opened up curiosities to e-sports and the obsessive, competitive nature. Describing my autoethnographic experience watching State of Play, I was able to link certain Korean cultural aspects that I was aware of and understood due to my own experiences and knowledge about the culture such as training groups, dormitories and the fan culture.

South Korea is the leading country in E-sports and as identified here– there is a simple reason for it. I guess you can agree that the strict training systems in Korea that may be surprising…

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Hagerstrand and SUICIDE SQUAD

Hagerstrand identifies three categories of constraints, limiting an individual to perform any actions they want, thus influencing actions of people.

  1. Capability: 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: 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: referring to the laws and rules that are set in place; restricting one from their actions.

These limitations by Hagerstrand is a key importance in every-day life and can be related to my own recent cinema experience. A few weeks ago, I went to watch the very anticipated, ‘Suicide Squad’ with my boyfriend. Obviously, there is a lot of hype around the film with an amazing cast and unique storyline so expectations were high. I, probably like everyone else like visiting cinemas when they are empty, due to it feeling less crowded and more personal- like as if you’re watching the movie in a huge wide screen TV and sound system alone rather than a complete random sitting next to you; and of course due to the popularity of Suicide Squad, that was something I unfortunately expected. The storyline and hype of the movie was definitely the reason why we wanted to watch it, even though the reviews were quite negative. The capability constraints of transportation wasn’t an issue as we both have cars that enable us to both easily meet up however, due to the fact that I’m from Wollongong and my boyfriend is from Sydney, driving up to Liverpool to watch a movie even though there was a cinema 5 minutes away from home was a harder but not impossible constraint. This effected the cost of movie tickets as in Wollongong, tickets are much cheaper- generally $9- $14. But in Sydney it was around $20.00. Although this wasn’t restricting our experience, it definitely impacts my decision to choose to watch movies in Sydney cinemas rather than Wollongong, especially when the quality is almost the same.

A coupling constraint was encountered when planning to meet up. The distance between us impacts the time it takes to meet, thus when making plans we have to consider extra driving time. On top of that, juggling work, University and our social lives can be a struggle too- thus the coupling constraint in finding time for each other out of our busy schedules to hopefully finding a linking time that we are both free can be a limitation. Due to the movie being so fully booked, we had to pre-book our tickets online earlier that week to ensure a good seat and hopefully not have to sit around a bunch of strangers. The coupling constraint also rose when picking an appropriate time to watch the film; either 6.30- and have a late dinner or 9pm, and have an early dinner. Due to the fact that I have to drive an hour back home to Wollongong, we decided to choose the earlier option so I wouldn’t get home so late (a capability constraint).

Authority constraints associated with going to the movies includes informal rules such as keeping quiet throughout the film, turning off electronics and not disturbing others. I know I always try to be extra quiet when eating and opening a packet of chips to hopefully not impact on others movie experience. Other authority constraints may include movie ratings- Suicide Squad being rated ‘M’, I was surprised to see the amount of kids (8-10 years old) with and without parent supervision. I guess due to it being a popular, booked out film; our tickets were checked before entering.

I guess we can argue that Hagerstrand’s constraints are apparent for movie- goers and may impact the decline rate of cinema attendance. Although cinemas may have better screenings and give you a well- rounded, high quality, surround sound experience; being at home and avoiding all the extra cost, time and energy spent going to the movie isn’t much worse.

 

References:

Corbett, J. 2001, Torsten Hagerstrand, Time Geography, CSISS Classics. pp. 1-4

Shaw, S.L, 2010, Hagerstrand & Time Geography, University of Tennessee Presentation, pp.10 http://web.utk.edu/~sshaw/Personal%20Homepage/AAG2010-Shaw-Time%20Geography%20Presentation.pdf

Warner Bros Pictures, 2016, SUICIDE SQUAD- OFFICIAL TRAILER 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmRih_VtVAs

More than a simple observation

 

The collaborative ethnography method of conducting media audience research allows engagement with others while reflecting in the context of their real experiences. The relationship between the ethnographer and consultant forms a sort of negotiation that gives back, allowing that certain aspect being researched to be further explored. Conducting my own collaborative ethnographic research by interviewing my father and reading others interviews proved to have both strengths and weaknesses to this method. It allows us to find common similarities between the television culture back then and now and compares the differences. As identified in my previous blog, I found reasoning to how my parents viewed television now- by watching it while eating dinner. This was due to the fact that TV was only available at public places- mostly restaurants where they could sit down themselves and enjoy with friends. It was considered a luxury and wasn’t affordable. Due to this familiar practice, placement of my family TV now is mainly in the dining room which is where my parents only watch their television. Additional TV’s in the family living room is a totally separate practice and is given to us, ‘the kids’ as an extra to use and watch as we please when we aren’t having dinner. Therefore, my parents don’t mind having TV in the background during dinner and don’t see any problem with this unlike other families in which I noticed with other MAP students that discussed having their TV being turned off during family dinner.

A strength of collaborative ethnography would definitely be the ability to have qualitative, detailed accounts of the interlocutors’ experiences that enables interviewers to further question and elaborate answers. This could however also be a weakness in which their accounts may be altered or bias due to their own distorted memories. Reflecting on my own interview I noticed Dad had trouble recollecting some memories of what he mostly watched and only remembered the fond memories. There were few instances where he said ‘I don’t remember but it was kind of like this’. This can question the validity and reliability of the research.

Reading through other students reflections on their interviews; I noticed a common theme that is a sense of family that was gained from watching television. Even now, this quality family time can still be evident however is questioned due to our short attention spans now that impact our tendency to be distracted and get interrupted by other devices. For example, I watched television for the first time in a while and during the ads or the ‘boring parts’ I naturally grabbed my phone and started browsing social media. It’s just a natural urge to keep ourselves busy and intrigued by something else. Another common theme throughout the MAP blogs was obviously the state of the huge box like TV’s. They were considered a luxury- which was something my dad had established; and only available to those that could afford it. It was definitely interesting reading others blogs in reading something different to what I had reflected on. Overall it was heavily established that most television memories incorporated the strong family interaction that came with it and those fond memories were what was commonly remembered and cherished.

By conducting ethnography, television practices overtime were analysed and a link between family dynamics and technological advancements was established; allowing us to identify changing society and media audiences.

 

References:

Lassiter, L. 2005. The Chicago guide to collaborative ethnography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Whitehead, T. 2005. Basic Classical Ethnographic Research Methods. ETHNOGRAPHICALLY INFORMED COMMUNITY AND CULTURAL ASSESSMENT RESEARCH SYSTEMS. Maryland, USA: University of Maryland.

Xin Chao Television!

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Street dining culture in Vietnam

Interviewing both my parents, who were originally from Vietnam; they hadn’t had much TV available as children due to the poor living conditions and were forced to work labour instead. TV wasn’t available for Dad until he was much older, in his early 30’s in which he spent wondering around the streets of Saigon. That’s where he witnessed most media, compared to watching TV at home. TV and radio were played at local restaurants on the side streets of Ho Chi Minh City where people passing by could glance at or watch if they dined in. It would play in the background while they ate or drank coffee and that’s where Dad experienced most TV viewership. In Vietnam there weren’t lots of TV channels. It wasn’t introduced till late 1960’s and from then only two TV channels were available. Vietnam and the United States had set the channels up during the Vietnam War with one in Vietnamese and the other in English. ‘VTV’ was the main broadcasting station and from what Dad watched, it was mostly Vietnamese soap operas, dramas and stand- up comedy plays. Television Dramas would later include music, dancing and musicals. It was all black and white and all very low quality. TVs were big as microwave ovens, like cubed boxes.

Television in Vietnam now, has also grown to have several channels including international channels and television shows in both English as well as Vietnamese dubbed.

I like to come home from work and sit down, watch TV while eating a hearty bowl of Pho to end my day.

Viewership was very limited for both my parents and TV and the use of media was specialised and seen as a very big privilege, even if they just came across it on the street. Later on, TV channels started to bring in international TV shows and incorporated it into Vietnamese versions. News coverage was available on TV, however most people preferred Newspaper for easy access and due to it being heavily relied on as print media to keep public informed rather than TV.

Moving to Australia, there was a bigger opportunity to watch television but the language barrier largely impacted. However, it was used mainly to waste time after work and help pick up and get used to English. He watched Australian reality television and soap operas but mainly kept the TV on for news updates in the background during family dinner. Even now, TV for mum and dad is kept on in the background whilst cooking and eating dinner in the dining room.

I can see a link between how they were used to watching TV in Vietnam while eating and having it in the background and how they’ve set up the TV in the dining room now. Even now, they don’t watch TV in the living room; but it is set up for ‘the kids’ but even so, we tend to watch television while dining compared to the living room; so you can say that their TV habits and practices have definitely rubbed on us.

‘We don’t play games for fun, we mostly play for work’

Digital Asia

Starting DIGC330, I didn’t know what to expect, but the first few weeks of it have definitely met and well exceeded my expectations. Our topic, autoethnography was something unfamiliar and unheard of but after looking into it, it helps put a name to the method that allows us to understand cultural experiences. According to Ellis, it is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience. (Ellis, 2004; Holman Jones, 2005).

From this reading, I understand that it is qualitative research in which one gathers through personal experiences from being a part of a particular culture then assessing it and allowing further cultural and social meaning and understanding.

This week’s text, ‘State of Play (2013)’ was a particular interest due to my own in depth knowledge about South Korea and it’s culture (and because I…

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