Limit of maps? Locality and cinema-going in Australia



Publication Details

Bowles, K. 2009, 'Limit of maps? Locality and cinema-going in Australia', Media International Australia, no. 131, pp. 83-94.


Cinema-going is a cultural experience shaped by logistics and mobility, as film distributors and exhibitors operate to enable films to be screened in places and at times when audiences can physically assemble to view them together. A historical understanding of the geography of cinema distribution, exhibition and attendance can therefore help us to understand what factors other than the choice of film title may have shaped the experience of the cinema audience. This article uses samples of trade commentary on small country cinemas in the late 1920s from the Australian trade journal Everyones, and suggests that historical GIS maps could help us to understand regional differences in the cinema-going experience, or track phenomena such as the diffusion of racial and social segregation in cinemas. Nevertheless, we need to remain mindful of the limits of maps to adequately explain the cultural experience of encountering these phenomena.

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University of Queensland

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