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Otherworld: Ouija Board as a Resource for Design

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Halfway to the Future Symposium 2019
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Print)9781450372039
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventHalfway to the Future Symposium -
Duration: 1 Jan 2000 → …

Publication series

NameHTTF 2019
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery


ConferenceHalfway to the Future Symposium
Period1/01/00 → …


The Ouija board is a device to contact spirits from the so-called otherworld. Although it is considered paranormal activity, the way it works rests on ideomotor actions and we argue that the Ouija is a resource for design for the following aspects: It is a 1) collective tangible exploration tool operated by two or more people through a physical pointer that moves, seemingly on its own, around the letters to probe meanings by composing messages. It has been used by artists as a medium offering 2) creative stimulation to generate material and develop ideas for their work. The Ouija also enables people to express nonconscious knowledge, as research suggests, and thus can provide 3) access to tacit dimension. In this paper, we present the Otherworld Framework that describes its principal elements and provide speculations on how to exploit them in design for collaborative, engaging and unconventional group interactions.


  • wearable, nonconscious, ideation, participatory design, decision making, automatism, tacit knowledge, ouija, co-design, ideomotor, design research, VR, paranormal, creativity

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland