Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe to my articles. I'll update you with lots of fun and often free adventures in your home town.
In 1984 George Orwell was concerned that Big Brother was watching our every move. Today the converse is probably more of an issue. We are all watching Big Brother when it's on, or the tennis or football or some other grand- scale public event.
And increasingly this is being done with others in a public sphere.
The idea that TV would keep us captive and in our homes is a misnomer. Increasingly people are getting out and joining others to celebrate, mourn (your football team might lose) or even share what were previously personal occasions.
Melbourne's biggest screen, and yes you guessed it, is at Federation Square. In fact it is the biggest screen in Australia and it is 5 000 squares free-to-air and cable TV.
If you have only moseyed past and not taken much notice of then it is worth noting that it is also on 24/7.
There is even a published TV guide. Click here which has an option of locking items you wish to watch into your Google Calendar.
Which is handy if you happen to be on your way to work and want to make sure you catch the ABC News Breakfast show or take the interactive Tai chi class at 7.30 in the morning. It is all there on the Big Screen for you to follow.
You need never miss another Melbourne event. No need to sit home and watch the Royal Children's Hospital Appeal, the Comedy Festival or the Melbourne Fashion Festival.
School holidays, not a problem. Entertain a whole tribe of kids with free films. The program varies but these coming holidays, for example, you could take them to see The Adventures of Tintin, The Lorax or Brave.
If there is an event, it is on for young and old. And again, is on the Big Screen. This is where thousands gathered to watch Kevin Rudd's apology to the Stolen Generation and no doubt there will be a mass watching of the next election. People came in their hordes to watch Black Caviar take on the world at Royal Ascot and to watch the Australian Open.
Media it seems is allowing us to develop public rituals through technology.
If previous generations took to the streets to celebrate VE Day (the end of World War 2), now our generation celebrates everything and anything and they do so in public on the Big Screen. There seems an enduring need for people to share life-changing moments.
Even the most private of occasions are celebrated. In 2012 Jamie proposed to Nikki. It was a freezing night and Nikki wondered why she was waiting on the cold stones at Fed Square. Then there was the answer on the Big Screen for all of to see.
And if you are thinking of doing something similar on weekdays, it will cost you around $250 (for up to 5 minutes of footage) and $350 on a weekend.
Or perhaps the novelty of such proposals has now worn off. Perhaps you could try to organise a wedding service or even a barmitzva on the Big Screen instead.
You may not have realised that the Big Screen also has a ticker running across the bottom which allows you to SMS a message. But before you get rude, it is filtered for offensive content. Although fittingly it is yet another way that Melburnians can interact with their "Big Screen."
It is fascinating that this sense of the village square of yore is being replicated and transformed by today's multi-media.
As for the future our Big Screen may increasingly become communal even on a global level. Interestingly the University of Melbourne took up some Big Screen time for a bit of a study. It linked people through three screens, Fed Square, Perth and on in Seoul. Then through the universal dance language of hip-hop it connected these audiences into interaction. Global harmony may be closer than we think.
One wonders what the future might hold. Might we one day be looking up at the Big Screen and watching an election for world government? Or perhaps watching an expedition to Saturn because sure as hell if the Big Screen had been there during the moon landing, that is where we would have congregated.
But as Orwell predicted you are being watched. You will perhaps have walked through Federation Square and seen yourself on the Big Screen. Or if you haven't then a word of warning; if having an affair this is not the place to embrace your illicit lover and kids think twice before lighting up that ciggie because your parents might be watching. Or if not it might well be your big brother. To check it out, click here.