Plasma Dunny

If you thought the ground-breaking work of Nikola Tesla and Paul Budnitz couldn’t possibly share any commonality, think again. California-based artist Dustin Cantrell has combined a plasma globe with a designer toy to create an ultra-limited run of Plasma Dunnys. Dustin’s creation is a rumination on the idea that Tesla’s toiling, which “at the time must have seemed like some kind of magic, has been reduced to cheap, Chinese-made novelty toys to be sold in malls at stores like Spencer’s Gifts.” Of course, designer toys have nothing in common with the kind of wares hocked at novelty shops, and Dustin’s Tesla-inspired figures will find fans in fine art connoisseurs and Burning Man attendees alike.

The metallic silver interactive Plasma Dunnys are limited to four pieces (valued at hundreds of dollars): three will be for sale later this month in ToyCyte’s new store for emerging artists, and one is being given away for free right now as part of ToyCyte’s custoMONDAY series. Dustin is looking for your favorite gadget (real or imagined), and will choose a winner based on all comments received here by February 15th.

Layer Tennis 2009

The Australian Open may have just settled on two winners, but there’s another huge tennis event on the horizon that doesn’t require you work on your half-volley or be a clay court specialist. Layer Tennis 2009 is a season of live online design events presented by Adobe Creative Suite 4 and Coudal Partners, in which two players swap files in a real-time design volley, enhancing each other’s work over a period of 15 minutes while a writer adds insightful play-by-play. Each game contains 10 volleys and allows viewers to vote on the winner when the match reaches its logical conclusion. The first dose of design action gets served up this Friday February 6th at 3p.m. You could have a front row seat to all the excitement by simply becoming a season ticket holder, which makes you eligible to vote on the winners and post comments. The Layer Tennis 2009 season has 43 matches taking place every Friday until May 29th. You can tune into the matches on Twitter or get your season ticket for a better view.

Movers and Shakers @ POVevolving

This year, smitten Valentine’s Day lovers and bitter haters can come together to enjoy something everyone adores: art. On the Hallmark holiday, Los Angeles’s POVevolving gallery will host the opening of the gallery’s newest exhibit “Movers and Shakers“, an exhibit that showcases the work of more than 70 pop surrealists – including Brandi Milne, Ron English, and Yosuke Ueno. Because nothing says love like skulls with wings, aliens, and disembodied heads.

Exclusive Thom Yorke Interview!

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I sat down next to Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke for more than 10 hours yesterday on a flight from London to L.A. (well, actually, he sat down, I was sitting first). We didn’t speak about his solo career, we didn’t speak about the long four hour delay from the snow in London. We also didn’t talk about Johnny Greenwood’s mission to save the world. We didn’t speak about his upcoming tour, or the sales of his In Rainbows record.

He was close enough to reach out and tap on the shoulder, snap photos of, and be a really annoying press figure. But I behaved myself. Truth is, I kind of felt bad for the guy as he was bombarded earlier on in the flight by a happy-go-lucky fan that recognized him.

At the end of the flight, I did manage to get in a quick interview though, it went like this:

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Touchdown at TED 2009

29422_260x196.jpgA hop, skip and a jump from London (I sat next to Thom Yorke on the plane here, by the way) and my mind-boggling conference circuit continues. Yes, I’m here in Long Beach for TED 2009. This is the 25th anniversary, and the first year it’s in Long Beach, TED’s new home. The speaker lineup is one of the best I’ve ever seen. My program tells me it’s time to get ready for a “thrilling discovery, a revolutionary idea, a powerful invention, a spectacular piece of art, a first time performance.” I’ll be doing some live blogging from time to time as I see fit, and of course if you want to follow my inner monologue, Twitter is the place.

If you’re here, drop me a line to grab a drink.

World Economic Forum, Davos 2009

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I was at Davos again this year, but decidedly quiet on the blogging front — I did a bit of Twittering, but for the most part was really there to focus on the topics at hand. If you didn’t make it this year don’t worry, they provided HD links to download most all the big sessions, which is pretty neat. Highlights include Putin schooling Michael Dell in the opening plenary (Number 31) “The Values Behind Capitalism” with Indra Nooyi (CEO of PepsiCo), Tony Blair, and others (Number 60), and one of the most intense sessions I’ve ever witnessed, “Gaza: The Case for Middle East Peace” with Tayyip Erdogan, Amere Moussa and Shimon Peres. At the end of the spirited (read: insane) debate, Prime Minster Erdogan of Turkey, walked off the stage. Interested in geopolitics? Watch it, (Number 97).

Overall, given the financial crisis, this year was a little surreal. Unlike many of the other people, I actually left hopeful. My sessions on Creative Leadership and Youth Culture were off the record, but what I can tell you is this: There are some incredibly savvy young people moving the needle across the board, and we need more of them. We simply can’t depend on the old guard to fix things. They’re too busy looking backwards, analyzing where they screwed up in the first place to see the future. Each and every one of us will be paramount in our own way — whether it’s solving the financial crisis, climate change, or making the world as a whole a better place, it’s going to be fresh thinking and innovation that saves the day.

JR x Kibera, Kenya

Our favorite large scale street artist, JR, has just left his mark all over Kibera, Kenya. In his most ambitious move yet he created a series of shifting images that sit on a hill. The eyes of the faces (pictured) are on a moving train, giving each a different pair of eyes as the train passes by. Just the thought of sitting on a roof top in Kenya to watch the train go by to complete the photographs makes us smile. JR has enlisted the help of the locals to create the images, as well as a massive series of photographs that spanning several roofs of the village. The water-resistant fabric helps with the structural condition of the poor village. Supposedly these rooftop photographs are visible from space. We haven’t heard any vertification from NASA. Check out his full gallery for the latest project and a few additional pictures over at the Wooster Collective.

Vans iPhone Game

Not enough addictive stuff on your iPhone? Vans, makers of the original skate shoe, are about to drop a game for the iPhone and iPod Touch that resembles Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater but has the sweet perk of allowing you to pull tricks using the ever-versatile touchscreen. Check out the demo for a little preview. It looks just about ready and just needs a name, a little necessity that Vans has turned into a contest. Give it a title that pops their ollie and they’ll hook up an iPod Touch loaded with the game and a bundle of their gear.

Chris Stain x Up On the Roof Countin' Pigeons

Los Angeles and New York have much similarity "” especially when you think about the whole West Coast-versus-the-East Coast thing "” but for a month starting Thursday, they will. Artist Chris Stain will be turning L.A.’s Carmichael Gallery into a New York rooftop scene with pigeon coop for his Up On the Roof Countin’ Pigeons, which will all be accompanied by live jazz music. This will be the Baltimore artist’s first Left Coast show, where he’ll also be displaying stencil art and mixed-media work. Also launching at the same time in the back gallery is Lifeline, with art by Brazil’s Alex Hornest and Sesper, plus Jim Darling, Ilia of Btoy and Andreas Ragnar Kasapsis. Both exhibits run till Feb. 26. All they need is the pizza joint down the street and maybe some good deli.

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