About the Plutopia News Network

Plutopia News Network focuses on the bleeding edges of contemporary culture, arts and media. Our ultimate goal? To encourage critical thinking and a positive feeling about the future.

The Plutopia News Network features news and media from the bleeding edge of culture and technology,  edited, published, and produced by Jon Lebkowsky , Scoop Sweeney, and Maggie Duval.

Our Origin Story

“The word ‘plutopia’ came out … as we were thinking about pluralist utopias – bright green alternatives to apocalyptic and dystopian visions. We didn’t want just one idea; we realized there are an infinite number of possible futures and outcomes, and they might all be realized, depending who and where you are.” ~ Maggie Duval, Wired, 2009

In 2006, in conversation with Derek Woodgate and Alex Cavalli, Jon Lebkowsky came up with the idea of a future-focused think tank that produces events instead of white papers.  Jon and Derek came up with an idea for a prototype, produced by David Demaris: “The DIY Home of the Future,” an installation at Austin’s 2006 Maker Faire.

Debriefing about the prototype, a collective of volunteers (including Maggie Duval) who worked on the project discussed how it had gone and what might come next.  We wanted to explore the possibility of a world, envisioned in the prototype, where everyone’s home and living experience would be custom-configurable – everyone would have their ideal situation. Someone described this as “pluralist utopias,” and David Demaris suggested a name for the organization that was forming: Plutopia.

A loose collection of volunteers produced several Plutopia events during SXSW. At some point a company, Plutopia Productions, formed and, over its brief history, was responsible for these and other events. The Plutopia events were produced by Maggie Duval, Derek Woodgate, Jon Lebkowsky, and Bon Davis. The last major Plutopia event was during the SXSW Interactive Festival in 2011.  Meanwhile Scoop Sweeney had become part of the Plutopia volunteer crew, and with Jon Lebkowsky started the Plutopia News Network. Our first series of podcasts were all produced in 2011.

A few years later Jon and Scoop decided to revive the podcast, joined also by Maggie. We’re always looking for guests – let us know if you’re interested in being interviewed, or have someone to suggest.