Sunday, March 25, 2012

Project Space: Movie Theaters

For our project space my group and I decided to explore and observe the environments of different movie theaters.  Each one of us went to a different movie theater on different days.  I, along with a friend went to two theaters on wednesday night.  We first went to Century which is pretty close to my house, but we forgot to check the times for the movies online and so when we got there we saw that no movies were being displayed until like 2 hours later, and we were too late to watch the ones being played at the moment. Nonetheless, I couldn't help but notice the emptyness of the theater.  There were only like 2 or 3 persons already inside that I could see, and not one person outside.  We then headed to AMC in city walk. I don't think I had been to that AMC on a wednesday night before, and i was surprised to see the little amount of people there. Usually when I go there there's a pretty big line but not this time, there was no line at all. Inside the theater there were some people here and there, not many though; either couples or little groups of friends, I would guess ages 17 and over. When we went inside to watch the movie I was shoked to see the room empty.  Literally it was only my friend and I inside the room watching the movie, which happened to be an scary one. Only one more person went in to watch that movie. He was an old man with a big, white beard just by himself, he looked kinda scary.
I went to the Century theater again on a friday night with another friend. We watched the movie that had just come out, Project X. This time the line was much bigger, and I saw many more people. Ages, I would guess, ranged from 15 to like 30 perhaps.  I saw a lot of groups of friends, both females and males, and some groups of just pure males.  People were buying popcorn and sodas at the entrance. Inside the room, unlike wednesday night, it was pretty packed. It was supposed to be only 18+ but I saw some kids that looked much younger in there. During the movie people were cracking up at times, but silent and attentive as well.
Movie theaters serve to entertain people of all ages specially on the weekends. Theaters serve their purpose very well, because it is a place to distract yourself from all the stress that one may have from work or school. However, the environment of a theater depends very much on the day and time you go. If you go on any weekday or in the mornings you're likely to see the theater dead, not many people there. Weekends at night is when movie theaters see major activity.

Friday, March 23, 2012


In the article Signs of Shopping Norton claims that the mall is not a public space.  Norton claims neither freedom of speech, nor freedom of assembly is permitted in the malls.  I agree with him on that.  If people dont' have those freedoms at the mall then I guess it can't really be called a public place.  Nevertheless, it can't be called a private place either.  A private place is more of a place for one's self only.  Private places are ones such as home, your bedroom, or the bathroom.  At these places you can do whatever you want without having to worry about strange eyes laying upon you and judging you.  You can do things you wouldn't do in public places.  When you're at the mall you don't have privacy, because there's people all around you, so it indeed cannot be considered a private space.  There are some places within the mall that you could call private though, such as the restrooms and fitting rooms, but other than that everything else is pretty much "public."  So, my question here is, if malls are not public spaces because of what Norton says, and they clearly are not private spaces either, then what kind of space are they?  I guess it could be a mixture of both.
Another thing Norton argues on his article is that malls are mainly for women.  He said that female adolescents spend more time there than money.  I wonder how or based on what he got that fact from.  Yes teenage girls like to spend a lot of time at the mall, but they also buy stuff.  For examle if a teenage girl buys a jacket, some jeans, and perhaps some food, she could spend up to $200, maybe less, depending on what stores she buys her clothes from; now if she's at the mall for 2 or 3 hours, how do you get a ratio of the money and the hours she spent at the mall? One penny for every second? If so, then she spent way more money than time at the mall.  It is also true though, that girls a lot of times like to go to the mall just to look around and leave the mall empty handed. Another reason why women like going to the mall according to Norton is because it is an opportunity for them to escape from their husbands and spend some time with their friends.  Well I don't think that's neccesarily true.  If women wanted some time away from their husbands, they could just go for a walk at the park or talk with their friends at some cafe.
The reason why I think women are inclined to spend more time at the mall than men is because they worry much more about what to wear, how they look, or whether or not they have better, more expensive or the latest clothing trend that came out, than men. I believe our societal structure impacts women more than men.  Commercials for the most part are aimed at women: make-up products, hair dye, straighteners, and all these other beauty products that most women are in a way forced to buy.  Men, I believe don't care about their image as much as women do, so that's why they spend less time going to a place where they sell all these products and things that will help them fit in and look "good."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Project Space

For the project space visit my group and I decided to go to the CSUN Pub & Grill.  At the time we went there really wasn't much people.  We got there at around 9:45, and the people that we saw there were for the most part just grabbing some breakfast and studying, or using their laptops.  There were some other just hanging out with their friends, and perhaps just waiting for their next class.  The purpose of the Pub is for students to just forget about school and relax.  Maybe grab a beer and some food and watch sports on the big screens.  I think the Pub fullfills its purpose, because it does get pretty packed later on during the day with students wanting to relieve their stress and just hang out with friends.  On the walls I also noticed jerseys from CSUN's different sporting clubs and old pictures of athletes and teams from the school.  The Pub at the usu is the place to go if you want to relieve your stress, forget about school, and just hang out with your friends.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gaming Reality

Sometimes science fiction movies may seem too far off from reality; but when you take a closer look you may discover that that is not always true.  The movie Gamer is one of those movies.  Video games have become an important part in many people’s lives.  Now-a-days they can create their own avatars and live in a fictional world through their video games.  According to a survey American gamers spent over 13 hours a week playing in 2010, and the average gaming time keeps rising. Americans are spending over 7% of their time living their own fictional reality.  The avatars people create and they themselves have a close relationship.  Avatars are like actors playing a script written by the player.
The movie Gamer aims to show a futuristic world where mind-controlling technological advancements allow people to control other people. In this movie death row inmates are given 30 sessions during which they are controlled and played by other humans; a game that very much looks like Counter Strike or Call of duty; except in this case they are not computer-made avatars, they are flesh-and-blood humans being played as avatars.  If they can survive these 30 sessions they would be set free.  Simple video games such as the ones mentioned above are taken to the extreme and turned into a reality in the movie.
The identity of these inmates, called “slayers”, is taken over by whoever is controlling them.  Technically the slayers have sold themselves and their identity in order to get their freedom back.  This is where the movie reflects a world that is very similar to ours. The slayers are somewhat like soldiers from the army.  The reason why the inmates decided to take part of this game was because they wanted freedom and a better lifestyle than the one they had in prison.  When the army recruits people they offer a lot of things, but most importantly they focus on your economic future.  So, when people sign up for the army one of the main reasons why they do it is to be economically stable.  “In March 2007, the overall unemployment rate was 4.4 percent.  In just 18 months it spiked to 9.8 percent, creating a boom for military recruiting… In the military... older recruits see ‘a stable job, stable income.  The younger generation [is] seeking a way to pay for college.’" (Weak Economy Draws Middle-Class Recruits.)   Army recruits and slayers decide to take part of this “game” for the same basic reason: to better their lives; even if it means running the risk of getting killed in the process.

Once the inmates in the movie sell themselves to be part of the game, they are in total control of the player.  The slayers are like puppets to the players.  They follow the orders and do as the player pleases.  Army soldiers are somewhat like slayers in that sense.  Once they are recruited they MUST do as their commander says.  In boot camp they have no other choice but to follow the rules and do as they are told.  They are being controlled.  In the battlefield they open fire only when they are given the order, they go where their commanders send them, and they kill who they are told to kill, just like the slayers.  They both are in danger of being killed, yet they can’t do anything about it but to follow orders.  They are the puppets playing the game.

In the movie Gamer there is also a thing called “society” which is made up of people who just like the slayers are being controlled and played by other people in exchange for money.  This society reflects the sexual fantasies, and wildest thoughts from a great amount of people in our own society.  In Gamer’s society women were seen as sexual objects, which is not too far from true.  Some women in our real society are in fact sexual objects. Just like the people in the society there are real people who sell themselves for money.  An example of this can be prostitutes.  They too sell their bodies and are at mercy and control of the buyer.  The relationship between the prostitute and the buyer is technically the same as the relationship between the player and the society person they play in Gamer. 

Other people in real life, just like in the movie’s society, are in a way being controlled by other people too, though not of course with controllers like the movie suggests.  We live in a society where since infants we were taught how to act, speak, and behave. We grow up thinking something is right or wrong according to what the standards say. And who makes up those standards? People of social high ranking class do, rich people, the ones in power.  Everyone in their own unique societies and cultures are in a way programmed to be the persons they grow up to be.  Social class in this world is very important.  In the movie Gamer the people that controlled and played the slayers and the people in society were rich people.  We all know if you have money in this world, you have power.  The rich class people are the ones that own the big companies, run the politics, and rule the world.  They make up the rules and standards.  Poor and middle class people just work for them to make a living; we follow their rules and their standards which is like being controlled by them.  Our identities are developed upon the rich’s view and ethic of right or wrong, and normal and deviant.  But we don’t usually realize this.  We just live as we were taught to.

This movie may be science fiction and it is supposed to be years from now, but despite the technological advancements, we can still relate what happens in the movie to today’s reality.  Playing videogames is a good distraction from the stress, but one has to be careful and make sure you can distinguish it from real life.  The real world may be hard and tough but is better than living a fictional one.  Gamer is a perfect example that shows how a video game can became a reality.

Works cited

Eddie Makuch. “Time spent gaming on the rise – NPD.” Gamespot.  N.P. May 27, 2010. Web. March 3, 2012 <>

Tom Philpott. “Weak Economy Draws Middle-Class Recruits.” N.P. October 22, 2009. Web. March 3, 2012. <,15240,204238,00.html>

Waggoner. “Videogames, Avatars, and Identity.”  N.P. N.D. <>