In this blog, we are required to refer some principles presented by Torsten Hagerstrand, a Swedish geographer, to study the way people move through time and space in regards of cinema settings. This includes the discussion about the general property of cinemas in the modern context and how cinemas have revolved throughout the years.
Hagerstrand’s Three Constraints
Referring to Hagerstrand, his theory of time geography is divided into three constraints namely capability constraints, coupling constraints and authority constraints. (Corbett, n.d.) The constraint of capability means “the limitations on human movement due to physical or biological factors.” (Corbett, n.d.) As a student studying degree in communication studies, we need to cope with workload that can be overwhelming. In other words, I ought to focus the need of a student which is to prioritize completing assignments. As proposed by Hagerstrand, coupling constraints associate human interactions in conducting different activities. (Yu and Shaw, 2005, p2) Watching movie is a leisure that can be spent with friends or families. However, some may have different commitments and duties, thus it is difficult to meet up with each other. Besides, there could be different of interest in watching movie genres and the inconvenience access of transport to travel to the nearest cinema. On the other hand, the authority constraints reflect on general rules or laws that affect a person’s actions in a certain period of time. (Yu and Shaw, 2005, p21) Since most of the cinemas in our country still operate even after midnight, it should not be problem for late movie-goers. In this case, I find this constrain is the least influential towards me as I do not opt watching movie in the wee hours.
According to the research by Screen Australia (n.d.), the frequency of cinema attendance in Australia has dropped since the last ten years from 7.8 visits in 2004 to 6.9 visits in 2014. The attendance rate is still the most popular among the age group of 14 to 24 but the frequency of visits has steeped; whereas cinema attendance becomes an upwards trend for the 50+ years old. (Screen Australia, n.d.) The latest statistic I could research on Malaysia’s cinema attendance is by the year 2011. In reference to The Global Economy (2015), during the period 2005 and 2011, it showed a steady rise of cinema attendance in Malaysia whereas the other Western countries namely USA and Australia showed the opposite structure.
However, a lot can change in four years’ time (today: 2015), what more when we are now living in the age of technological revolution. With the advancement of technology in present-day, it is so convenient to watch movies online or download them from various sources. The usage of laptop and smartphones is certainly the biggest contributor in providing personal space for a person to watch movie. The existence of home theatre has also brought family closer together to spend quality time with each other. Family members can watch movies at home easily, with a setup of a DVD player and a projector. In comparison, this is much cheaper and practical in a long run. This in turn associates with the increasing standard cost of living in Malaysia, which has transformed the cinema experience into quite a luxury. One ticket could cost up to RM14; which is not as affordable as we assumed to be.
Cinemas are facing rather tough competitions especially from the modern digitalized media namely the Internet and smartphones. Nonetheless, it is not dying anytime soon. Similar to the idiot box, it will remain in the future. This is because the movie industry is still going strong, which there are people who are willing to pay for the exclusivity and enjoying this once-in-a-while leisure.
Corbett, J n.d., “Torsten Hagerstrand: Time Geography”, accessed 24/10/2015, http://www.asu.edu/courses/gcu600/gcu673c/15/Readings/TorstenH%E4gerstrand.htm
Screen Australia n.d., Audiovisual Markets Audiences, accessed 24/10/2015, http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/audiencescinemaattend.aspx
The Global Economy 2015, Malaysia Cinema Attendance, accessed 24/10/2015, http://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Malaysia/movies_attendance/
Yu, H & Shaw, SL 2005, “Revisiting Hagerstrand’s Time-Geographic Framework for Individual Activities in the Age of Instant Access”, online PDF, accessed 24/10/2015, http://geog_users.okstate.edu/HongboYu/NSF-Project-Website/publications/Yu_Shaw_2005.pdf