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Accumulating Money Over at Far Side Virtual

by Noise

Far Side Virtual was an album released in 2011 by James Ferraro, that marked the transition from his lo-fi recording style to a cleaner and refined style. It was also noted as a catalyst of the genre known as Vaporwave, but has noted he doesn’t like the term. A common view of Far Side Virtual is that it’s a mockery of consumerism that deals with topics such as hyper-reality and consumer culture. However, Far Side Virtual is not a mockery but rather a celebration of these from the perspective of an autistic kid. Macintosh Plus’s “Floral Shoppe” and Internet Club’s “Redefining the Workplace” and “Webinar” also apply to this. It’s not the gloomy view of the future described by Mark Fisher in Capitalist Realism as “it is easier to imagine an end to the world than an end to capitalism,” but a bright, playful corporate parade that big neutral and helpful corporations take part in. It’s not about how cold and emotionless the corporate capitalist world is, it’s about why it’s good!

Capitalism is comfy, especially for autistic kids. Neurodivergent kids always eventually subconsciously learn about mental profitability, then apply it to make more mentally profitable content to stim more to make more profitable videos... you see how this positive feedback loop goes on! “I want you… to create a fanart of Spin wearing a pith helmet.” The fanart of the Really Wild Animals character being requested is an attempt to see how much money he can create, then spend it by stimming when it’s been created. It’s about mentally profitable content. So, you may ask, why is it then that the neurodivergent kid is indifferent to physical currency and is seen as awkward when it comes to physical cash? It’s because they already have their own form of currency they trade on a daily basis. They’re being introduced to a form of money and wealth that is trying to replace their already established structures. They’re not being awkward, they’re just trying to continue making money in their minds. Logos are mental gold for the neurodivergent kid. When we’re talking about logos, we don’t mean minimalist flat design TikTok-ian oligarchy sustainable disposable recyclable spectacle buzzword aesthetics logos that you trace for your Digital Media elective. We’re talking about stuff for the Closing Logo Wiki like the Sony Wonder logo, Nelvana logo or Viacom logo. It doesn’t matter when it’s from, neurodivergent kids don’t care about age anyway. That is, when it comes to subjects that aren’t people. They stack them, pile them, brand them, hold them, etc. That's just a fact of life, it's just how the brain works, it's what it is, and it's not going to change. Logos are even more profitable than oil or bitcoin, just not in the way people think!

OThe critics were right in comparing Far Side Virtual to the work of Ryan Trecartin, but not right in comparing it to Baudrillard. Far Side Virtual isn’t about consumerism, it was never a matter of anything relating to image hyper-culture. But, Far Side Virtual was always economical, albeit not in the way people once thought. In conclusion; Far Side Virtual is not a riff on consumer culture, but a celebration of the underlying capitalism under and in both the mental and the actual from the perspective of a neurodivergent kid. It’s not about doing a shopping spree at West Edmonton Mall, it’s about the mental investments of a neurodivergent kid who travels between the kid and adult world nearly every day. It’s not about the shock and embarrassment of breaking your iPad in Starbucks as I had originally thought, but it’s about the autistic kid whose parents bring to Starbucks to get a cookie and then come back to watch more logo effects compilations and YouTube Poops. It’s about the money accumulated in their brain when they watch more logo effects compilations and come up with new effects, and the money being spent when they stim.

Far Side Virtual mainly designates a space in society, or a mode of behaving. All of these things operating in synchronicity: like ringtones, flat-screens, theater, cuisine, fashion, sushi. I don’t want to call it “virtual reality,” so I call it Far Side Virtual. If you really want to understand Far Side, first off, listen to [Claude] Debussy, and secondly, go into a frozen yogurt shop. Afterwards, go into an Apple store and just fool around, hang out in there. Afterwards, go to Starbucks and get a gift card. They have a book there on the history of Starbucks-- buy this book and go home. If you do all these things you’ll understand what Far Side Virtual is-- because people kind of live in it already.” - James Ferraro, 2011

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