Asian Efficiency

24 Aug 2009

Digitizing Race

One of the best books I’ve read in ’09 is Digitizing Race by Lisa Nakamura. In her essay The Social Optics of Race, she writes that

the racio-visual logic of…science fiction films that depict interface use set up distinct roles for particular races, and distinct ways of conceptualizing the racialized body as informational property… [and that] Asians and Asian-Americans function as the material base for technologies of digitized vision….

I was reminded of it when seeing this Palm Pre commercial from Modernista! in which masses of Asian bodies signify supreme technology. While I doubt that this was overtly outlined as such, I do think it is a product of Western subconscious.

HT:Sociological Images for the clip and Erin Lamberty for noting it.


  1. 24 Aug 2009 Nathan

    I think that Palm Pre commercial is being misrepresented.

  2. 24 Aug 2009 nerditry

    I think the concept of perfection is more based on ideas (or myths) since the Japanese became tech giants post-WWII.

    When you have relatively few natural resources to export, perfection and attention to detail are the byproducts.

  3. 25 Aug 2009 fatbastard

    clearly the chinese are worshiping the alien white lady