Virtually Asian is a short video essay that looks at how white science-fiction filmmakers fill the backgrounds of their futuristic worlds with hollow Asian figures — in the form of video and holographic advertisements — while the main cast (if not the entirety of their fictional universe’s population) is devoid of actual Asian people.
The tropics exist as a dreamy respite from “real” life ...for some people. But it’s not a holiday for the 3.2 billion people who live in the tropical zone. White-made media reinforces a racialized, exotic vacation trope, training their cameras on and constructing sets with gangly palm trees, pristine beaches, glistening oceans, and deferential Pacific Islanders, Asians, Caribbean, and/or Indigenous peoples. This is the cherry-picked, colonialist view of tropical lands, which are presented as escapist fantasies and prizes for white Americans and Europeans.