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Friday Time Waster: Layer Tennis

By Jen Hazen in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 20, 2009 6:00PM

Friday, we love you. But why do you have to drag like a cat's ass in the afternoon? zzzzzzzzz...

2009_03_layertennis.jpg Wake up! with Layer Tennis, a fun cure for that Friday afternoon coma. Founded by Coudal Partners, LT is a live, online design duel where two competitors (designers, illustrators, animators) swap a file back and forth in real-time, adding to and embellishing the work layer by layer with their choice of tool or application.

Each artist has 15 minutes to "volley" for each layer, i.e. design or draw like crazy and maybe throw a few insults into the art just for fun. Each volley is then posted live to with commentary from guest writers each week to chronicle the blow-by-blow. The final result? Ten layers of frenzied artistic genius. And season ticket holders (that's you when you sign up on their site) can tweet on Twitter during the match, talk shit, and weigh in on which artist Coudal should crown the winner.

For its 2nd season, Coudal has expanded LT's artist participation way beyond Chicago's design community, so expect non-stop ooohs and ahhhs. For the pre-season exhibition, a file navigated around the world to ten artists in ten cities. Two weeks ago, Coudal hosted an international motion graphic edition—Werk of Stockholm defeated Digital Kitchen Chicago. And last week saw the first analog LT match, with Chicago illustrators Phineas X. Jones and Dan Grzeca going pencil to pencil. Next up at 2 p.m. Central today: Sam Potts faces off against Armin Vit in an All-Brooklyn battle royale. So, no more asking, "Is it 5 yet?"

P.S. If you need a pre-game time vampire, check out all of the past layer tennis matches here.