Metaverse Makeovers is the brainchild of Australian digital artist, inventor, and technologist Thea Mai Bauman. The company is a convergence of Thea’s many interests, including wearable tech, fashion and pop culture, transmedia design, and emerging social media patterns in Asia. Starting with nail art, the Metaverse aims to offer a completely augmented reality experience in the future, making over the entire person.
Metaverse Makeovers是澳大利亚数码艺术家、发明家、技术专家Thea Mai Bauman的独创品牌。它集合了她的多种兴趣，诸如：可穿戴技术、时尚流行文化、跨媒体设计，以及亚洲新兴的社交媒体模式。以美甲开起步，Metaverse Makeovers的目标是在未来提供全身式改造以体验一个更广义的现实。
Growing up with anime, hackers, and cyberpunk culture, Thea went on to study art. After graduation, she landed in China in 2006 to do surveying work on the Three Gorges Dam. Her experiences traveling in Asia since then led to the founding of Metaverse Makeovers. Noting China’s unique social media culture that spans young and old alike, as well as its rapid pace of changing technology and platforms, Thea says, “It’s a very hyper-accelerated digital ecosystem. We have to be as hyper-agile as possible. Our mantra is to innovate around unknowns.”
在动漫，黑客和数字朋克文化中成长的Thea继续学习了美术。毕业后，2006年她来到中国做三峡大坝的调查工作。自此之后，她在亚洲的游历最终促成了Metaverse Makeovers的诞生。Thea 注意到中国独特的社交媒体文化，它跨度穿越各个年龄层，同时它的技术和平台也在风驰电掣地发展。她说:“它是个超加速的数码生态系统。我们必须尽可能的保持随机应变。我们的准则是在未知中创新。”
For the past two years, Thea has been working on fashion pattern recognition technology. Unique patterns get printed onto wearable surfaces which can then trigger 3D holograms that appear in the Metaverse mobile app. Built with 3D gaming engines, the Metaverse app integrates gaming features such as powering up, leveling up, trading, and sharing holograms for Chinese social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo. Eventually, the app will enable users to create custom content such as secret hologram messages, customized avatars which can be dressed up and other user-generated features.
“How do I put the latest most emerging technologies onto girls’ fingers in a way that speaks to them, their culture, and their modes of self expression that is also cool? I think there’s a lot of technology products that are introduced that are not very hot. So how do I create something that is like Glamtech? How do we create desirable technology in a way that speaks to them?”
For Thea, it’s not really about nail art, it’s about using emerging technologies as a form as self-expression. While other companies are more focused on wearable technology that can track health and productivity, Bauman says, “Metaverse is the counterweight to that. We are not interested in measuring your heart rate or in quantifying yourself.” Glamtech exists more as a means of self-expression, as art and as an extension of digital identities.
对于Thea来说，这其实不关乎美甲艺术，是关乎利用新兴技术作为自我表现的一种方式。当其他公司都致力于监测健康和效率的可穿戴技术，Thea 说道：“Metaverse是作为一种对重装置存在。我们对测量你的心跳频率或者量化你自己并没有兴趣。” GlamTech的存在意义更多是自我表现、艺术与数字身份的延展。
“I’d watch a lot of anime and think, why doesn’t it exist? Like why doesn’t Sailor Moon’s wand exist? That should be real. The challenge is that we’re so ahead of our time in many ways, that we have to wait for people to catch up. We have to make sure that we’re working ahead of the curve but also that what we create can be adopted for this time now, so we don’t push it too fast but that we also have it in a form that can be used.”
While working with a like-minded team of artists, designers, and engineers, Thea also brings in collaborators and local conceptual artists to create more localized content and exclusive collections. For the China market, they created a Year of the Sheep themed nail collection. They frequently tap into the local nail technicians to see what the newest trends are in nail art. While people may request everything from fruit themes to wearable porn holograms, Thea says that some of the most fascinating visuals actually come from bugs in the process of developing the app. As someone goes deep into the Metaverse technology, the images captured by the holograms glitching out are some of the most beautiful moments.