An Attempt at Conceptual Tinkering: The Case of a Design-Intervention Framed as Site and Holey Space

Tau Ulv Lenskjold*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


    Design-interventions play a pivotal role in many areas of contemporary design research. For some it is the preferred modus operandi for establishing relations to a potential constituency of co-collaborators as a means to situate experimental design into a specific context in order to explore how it affects its surroundings. Corroborating elements from both approaches, this chapter investigates designintervention as a site for resistance to - or subtle undermining of - the pre-existing conditions. Following recent work by Carol Burns and Andrea Kahn.1 I suggest that site, extrapolated from their notion of the urban site, offers an alternative mode for the conceptual framing of the design-intervention. I will argue, that site-thinking in this respect provides us with a concept that both holds a potential for by-passing the often entrenched dichotomy between categories such as place and space, and give us a more complex and layered understanding of the reality that meets the designer as he or she intervenes, i.e. the site where design is actually performed and effectuating a change in a given locale. The second part of the chapter changes position to an outlook from the inside of the design-intervention itself. The Deleuzoguattarian notion of 'holey space' is evoked to examine the design-intervention as a zone for potential resistance or minor undermining of the pre-existing and preconceived assemblage of relations. The discussion of site and design-intervention as potential resistance is based on accounts from a recent design research project 'Urban Animals and Us'. The project examines the possibility of making new relations between urban creatures that exists on the fringes of our attention, such as seagulls and crows as well as fragile elderly or people suffering from dementia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDialectics of Space and Place across Virtual and Corporeal Topographies
    EditorsJune Jordaan, Christine Alegria, Carl Haddrell
    Number of pages10
    Place of PublicationOxford, UK
    Publication date2016
    ISBN (Print)9789004370517
    ISBN (Electronic)9781848885103
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Design-intervention
    • Experimentation
    • Holey space
    • Resistance
    • Site


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