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Kay Vasey | Women of Power 2022

Kay Vasey

Founder of MeshMinds

The name might not be familiar, but you’ve probably seen its works. MeshMinds is the creative technology studio behind some of the coolest sustainability-focused XR (Extended Reality, which encompasses Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality) projects in Singapore, including Run for Nature, the world’s first AR game developed for World Environment Day; Please Insert Women, a creative technology incubation programme with Net-A-Porter for women and/or non-binary artists in Southeast Asia; and the 100 Days to #BeatPlasticPollution movement in response to the plastic pollution pandemic.

If it wasn’t apparent from its curriculum vitae, MeshMinds focuses exclusively on commissions that address people and the planet. Founded in 2017 by Kay Vasey, a lawyer by training, the purpose-driven agency brings together creatives and responsible businesses to tackle pressing social, environmental and educational challenges. “MeshMinds is a combination of my skills, experiences and passions,” she explains. “I’ve been a tech lawyer. I’m deeply passionate about art – but wasn’t allowed to study it because of my Chinese upbringing, so it almost feels like I need to dedicate the later part of my life to helping artists. I’m also a nature lover. I’ve gone on volunteer trips throughout my life, doing turtle conservation, resurfacing roads and putting roofs back on mountain huts. That’s why ‘art tech for good’ is what drives our entire vision.”

Lest there be any doubt, MeshMinds is for-profit. It has, however, a non-profit arm called the MeshMinds Foundation that equips artists and technologists in Asia with the latest tools, as well as training and mentoring to help them push the boundaries of their medium. “The whole idea has always been to create an ecosystem whereby we teach artists and creators how to harness technology through the foundation, then they exit as creative technologists ready to create meaningful work that helps people and the planet.”

Kay adds, “But at the same time, I didn’t want our graduates to think that there are no jobs in this. So we created the studio to offer them professional opportunities, showing them that there are projects they can work on to get paid with their newfound skills in sustainability.”

One of MeshMinds’ latest works is the Art Reimagined series, featuring the traditional art and culture of Taiwan and Korea elevated by technology. This partnership with Meta brought together local artists and developers to create immersive AR and VR experiences for their art pieces. “We love to see people’s faces when they are wowed by the filters. It brings such joy to us. That’s why we keep doing what we do. And this is only the beginning – AR and VR are just entry points to the metaverse.”

Going forward, Kay wants to further amplify Asian voices. “I think there are huge opportunities for creators in the region to learn new things, raise their voices, and be as good as people in the West. In fact, we have even better ideas because we come from this multi-cultural part of the world with lots of different perspectives, languages and inspirations. By fostering inclusive communication, championing creativity and enabling innovators, we can catalyse behavioural change, make a difference and secure a sustainable future for the next generations.”

Kay wears the Hublot Big Bang Original Gold 41mm

Photography: Bryan Foong/BF Studio; Art Direction: Audrey Chan; Hair: Ann Lin/Athens Salon; Makeup: Wee Ming, using Dior Beauty