Venue — a portable media rig, interview studio, multi-format event platform, and forward-operating landscape research base — will pop up at sites across North America from June 2012 through late 2013.

Under the direction of Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG and Nicola Twilley of Edible Geography, Venue officially launched Friday, June 8, 2012, at the Nevada Museum of Art in downtown Reno, Nevada.

In collaboration with the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art, Venue will traverse North America in a series of routes, visiting such sites as New Mexico’s Very Large Array, Arches National Park, the world’s largest living organism in the Blue Mountains of Oregon, and the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival.

At these and many other locations, Venue will serve as a backdrop — or venue — for original interviews with people from an extraordinary range of disciplines, even as it records and surveys each site through an array of both analog and high-tech instruments. Many of these devices were conceived and fabricated by interaction designer and 2011 TED Fellow, Chris Woebken. In addition, key pieces of documentary equipment and Venue project ephemera will be stored in an intricate, hand-made toolbox designed by Semigood, woodworkers and furniture-makers based in Seattle, Washington. You can see a photo gallery featuring Venue’s unique toolbox/pop-up interview studio and read about its designers, below.

Venue’s online presence (here at v-e-n-u-e.com, as well as at our media partner The Atlantic, on Twitter, and in our email updates) is equally important as a virtual platform from which we will broadcast original interviews, tours, and public events.

As Venue sets out on its ambitious, sixteen-month series of loops across the North American landscape, its curatorial mission is to document often overlooked yet fascinating sites through the eyes of the innovators, trendsetters, entrepreneurs, and designers at the forefront of ideas today.

From architects to scientists and novelists to mayors, from police officers to civil engineers and athletes to artists, and from landfill-remediation crews to independent filmmakers, Venue’s archive will assemble a cumulative, participatory, and media-rich core sample of the greater North American landscape, by means of a rolling festival of site visits, interviews, film screenings, discussions, debates, presentations, performances, and more.

Except where otherwise noted, all content on this site is by Future Plural (contact us) and is licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


The Venue Tripods

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To create Venue’s media rig, we customized a set of standard surveying tripods. Atop these we’ve mounted an array of devices, from the practical to the poetic, most of which were created for Venue by Chris Woebken, an acclaimed interaction designer and 2011 TED Fellow.

Chris Woebken runs a rapid research practice, producing props, narratives, and cinematic visualizations to investigate the social implications of new technologies. Chris has worked on a series of projects exploring human-animal interactions, such as Animal Superpowers, a beetle-wresting interface, and the robotic river buoys he created for the Sentient City exhibition with Natalie Jeremijenko and The Living Architecture Lab. His work has been shown at the Nevada Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Science Gallery in Dublin, and the IVAM Institute of Modern Art in Valencia.

We also saved some room on the right to bring along a guest device or instrument. We've borrowed Matt Richardson's Descriptive Camera, for example, which is like a Polaroid, except that, instead of printing out a picture, it prints a textual description of the scene. You can watch a demonstration below.

The Venue Box

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Is it a toolbox? A pop-up interview studio? The Venue box is both: a handcrafted walnut box for storing equipment and road trip ephemera that transforms into a bare-bones recording base from which we can host interviews and conversations. The box was designed and fabricated by Semigood, a Seattle-based furniture and graphic design company founded and run by Thom Jones and Brendan Callahan.

The Venue Website

Venue’s graphic identity and website were designed by Superfamous, the Los Angeles-based studio of Dutch interaction designer Folkert Gorter. Folkert’s work focuses on content-driven networks, creative communities, and visual publishing interfaces.

V-e-n-u-e.com’s technology and programming was developed by Jon-Kyle Mohr, and runs on the Cargo platform, co-founded by Folkert Gorter in 2009.

Venue in Print

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From business cards to daily log sheets, Venue’s printed ephemera showcases the graphic design work of Los Angeles-based Atley Kasky and Keith Scharwath. In 2011, Atley and Keith teamed up to form Outpost. Atley is also co-founder of But Does It Float and spent four years working at GOOD, while Keith teaches typography at CalArts and has worked with clients such as Apple, Nike, MTV, GOOD, and Ogilvy.

Venue’s Design Inspiration

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An earlier, vehicle-based concept for Venue was designed by INABA, run by architect Jeffrey Inaba. Artist Joe Alterio also provided visual inspiration with his speculative illustration of the Venue media rig.


Venue is a project of the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art and Future Plural.

The Nevada Museum of Art was founded in 1931 by a small group of plein-air landscape painters; it has thus always understood the importance of examining how humans interact with natural, built, and virtual environments. Beginning in 2009, the Museum decided to dedicate its curatorial, scholarly, and research endeavors to the study of art and environments with the creation of the Center for Art + Environment, an internationally recognized research center.

The mission of the Center for Art + Environment is threefold: To encourage the creation of artworks expressing the interaction between people and their natural, built, and virtual environments; to convene artists, scholars, and communities to document, research, and analyze such artworks; and to increase public knowledge of these creative and scholarly endeavors.

Future Plural is an independent curatorial unit, research lab, and umbrella for creative collaboration founded and directed by Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley.

Geoff Manaugh is the author of BLDGBLOG, former senior editor of Dwell magazine, and editor-in-chief Gizmodo.

Nicola Twilley is author of Edible Geography and director of Studio-X NYC, an off-campus event space and urban futures think tank run by the architecture department at Columbia University. In 2013, she was guest curator of Perishable: An Exploration of the Refrigerated Landscape of America at the Center for Land Use Interpretation exploring spaces of artificial refrigeration; she is also working on a book on the same topic. Nicola also co-founded the Foodprint Project with Sarah Rich and is former Food Editor of GOOD magazine.


Funding for Venue has been provided by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), Nevada Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) is a regional non-profit arts service organization dedicated to the creative advancement and preservation of the arts.

WESTAF encourages the creative development and preservation of the arts regionally and through a national network of clients and alliances. WESTAF fulfills its mission to strengthen the financial, organizational, and cultural policy infrastructure of the arts in the West by developing and providing innovative programs and services, technology solutions, funding opportunities, advocacy and cultural policy work, and other services.

Founded in 1974, WESTAF is located in Denver and is governed by a 22-member board of trustees that comprises arts leaders in the West. WESTAF serves the largest constituent territory of the six U.S. regional arts organizations that includes the state arts agencies, artists, and arts organizations of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The Nevada Arts Council, a division of the new Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, was created as a state agency in 1967. With offices in Carson City and Las Vegas, the Nevada Arts Council’s mission is “to enrich the cultural life of the state through leadership that preserves, supports, strengthens, and makes accessible excellence in the arts for all Nevadans.” Nevada Arts Council programs serve as a catalyst to stimulate artistic, cultural, and economic activity across the state, animate its breadth of communities, ensure lifelong learning in the arts for all Nevadans, and to encourage public and private support for the arts.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965, as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.


For all media inquiries, please contact Rachel Milon, Director of Communications and Marketing at the Nevada Museum of Art, at 775.329.3333 ext. 228 or via email at rachel [DOT] milon [AT] nevadaart [DOT] org.

Press Materials:
May 24, 2012, Reno, NV:Building Dialogue | Bridging Communities — Venue Explores North America

High Resolution Images Available for Download

Press Coverage:

June 27, 2012, Design Observer: "Observational Instruments, Observed"

June 11, 2012, The Atlantic: "Detecting the Strange Connection Between Where You Are and What You Are"

June 8, 2012, Wired.com: "Recording America's Landscape with Some Very Strange Devices"


You can reach us at futureplural [AT] gmail [DOT] com — drop us a line and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!