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.
With examples from major sci-fi productions spanning four decades, the video reveals this trope as a poor attempt to mask white supremacist imagination and casting. This well-trodden shortcut is meant to create the appearance of a diverse world without hiring non-white people in any significant capacity (in front of or behind the camera).
With a soundtrack by Vietnamese French beatmaker Onra, which deftly blends traditional and pop Chinese music from the 1960s with hip-hop, Virtually Asian is Thai American artist Astria Suparak’s first video. It is part of Suparak’s ongoing research project, Asian futures, without Asians.
Virtually Asian a video essay commissioned by Berkeley Art Center and serves as an introduction to Astria Suparak's Tropicollage commissioned by Other Futures.