MEDIA SPACE VS PHYSCIAL SPACE: spatiality in media practice

Due to the latest introduction of Netflix into Australia you’d be forgiven for thinking movie theatres are a thing of the past. We are living in a world where instant gratification is the favoured choice when it comes to our media preferences. What I mean by this is there is a much greater chance of someone choosing to stay comfortably in their home to watch a movie over going to the movie theatre. Or is there? I began thinking about this concept of media space vs physical space. In other words, watching movies and interacting online in comparison to the physical act of attending a movie at the theatres and how this will apply to our future media consumption.

Hägerstrand’s argument that spatiality governs individuals by limitations ties in with future media practice. He addresses three constraints in the importance of time for humans being coupling, capability and authority.  In order to understand this, I began thinking about the traditional act of going to the movie theatre for leisure.  The coupling constraint being that you need to be in one place for a given time interacting with other people best conveys my argument. You get there and there’s always that one person who insists on their designated seat despite being the only other person in the theatre other than yourself. Then when you’re doing the right thing sitting in your own designated seat there’s that one person who sits in it. This space, the cinemas, in which we share with the public who are complete strangers to us is intimate. The two words ‘stranger’s and ‘intimate’ would seem foreign to use in one sentence however as a cultural practice going to the movies forms a relationship. As Hagerstrand argues a given location, in this case a theatre, can have a proximity for any person.

Comparing this idea with the impact of Netflix on our media practices we are able to see what is happening in terms of spatiality and physically being able to attend a movie theatre. The more people are invested in downloading the more it is a threat to the cinema practice. Melbourne rooftop Cinema programmer Kate Jinx says ‘I think that to stay afloat as a cinema you have to make it a bit of an event’.

This is true of a trip to the cinema, it is an event. Our culturally specific way of downloading is threatening this event however I don’t believe this will affect the future of the cinema business greatly due to the way our society values the idea of being able to experience a movie on the big screen.

Have a look at this podcast on whether or ‘the cinema will become less popular when big films are released at the same time on Netflix worldwide and can be viewed when and how the viewer wants or whether it’s just a fad’.


CSISS Classics – Torsten Hägerstrand: Time Geography.. 2015. CSISS Classics – Torsten Hägerstrand: Time Geography.. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 31 August 2015]

Radio National,. ‘A New Golden Age: How Cinemas Are Surviving In The Age Of Netflix’. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Sept. 2015.


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