Action Space Boxing

Action Space Boxing


Unsworn Inspirators/Perspirators instigated action space-workshopping at the IT-University in Gothenburg.

The goal of this workshop is that the participants should try out and discuss interaction design as the design of action spaces.

Thinking in terms of action puts the focus on people as active protagonists, not passive users. Thinking in terms of spaces leads to open-ended and un-anxious design.

The notion of Action Spaces also emphasise the political role of the (interaction) designer, as someone who actively shapes other people’s possibilities and everyday choreographies.

This workshop also intends to provoke discussion on the often instrumental, or problem-solving, nature of design. If everything is designed (and someone designed it) it must be possible to change! But who has the authority to do so? How can we find a balance between individualistic, yet constructive, over-simplification and the paralysing complexity of social and political realities?


Sounds, systems, artefacts, people - they all affect, determine and mark our action spaces and are part of “systems that quietly order us about”, as Foucault put it. There are a myriad of ubiquitous, visible and invisible things and systems and infrastructures that subtly (or bluntly) encourage (or force) us to take one action rather than another, to walk this way rather than that.

Once you start examining the actions you’ve taken and not taken this far today you will notice rule sets, intricate invisible structures and ordinary down to earth stuff around you that allowed you to do some things and prevented you from doing others. Sometimes we have plenty of elbowroom, sometimes we have less.

Yes, there are boundaries to what we can do. We have to make an effort to escape the clutches of gravitational pull, there are infallible mathematical truths that do not change, and we cannot step into the same river twice.

These are the exceptions. Most of the things that hold us back are made up and seldom set in stone. They are mere mental, material and social constructs, products of conceptual and perceptual shortcomings, consequences of conservatism and cowardry, or simple figments of our imagination. The good news is: it can all change.


During the first Action Space Boxing workshop - at the IT University in Gothenburg in February 2006 - the following awards from prominent Swedish institutions were presented to the most successful participants:

Självspäkarnas Diplom för Tapperhet och Dumdristighet

Rättviseordens Lilla Etikpris

Subtilitetsstiftelsens Utsökta Finlirsmedalj

Svenska Designelitens Egotrippokal 2006

Bråkstaksklubben So Fucking What’s Finaste Pris

Revolutionsnostalgiernas Riksförbunds Årets Interventionistiska Käftsmäll

Designminimalisternas Stora Eleganspris