me: maria engberg


Photo: Jens Sjöberg

I am currently senior lecturer (tenured professor, Universitetslektor) at the Department of Computer Science and Media Technology at Malmö University (Faculty of Technology and Society) and Research Affiliate at the Augmented Environments Lab, Georgia Institute of Technology.

I hold a Ph.D. in English from Uppsala University (2007) and an M.A. in English (2002) from Blekinge Institute of Technology. My doctoral thesis explored the interaction patterns, aesthetics, design and historical context of various genres of digital poetry.

My research interests include:

  •  remediated and emerging media technologies.
  • aesthetic & narrative practices that integrate with urban cityscapes and built environments.
  • multisensory technologies and modes of engagement.
  • digital writing practices
  • augmented and mixed reality design and analysis

In ongoing projects I explore how today’s digitally mediated cultures prompts a shift in how we perceive and co-create in a world that increasingly involve mediated experiences, a mode that I call “polyaesthetic.” Hence, the name of the blog.

I am currently part of two major research projects at Malmö University:

CITY FABLES, an artistic research project funded by the Swedish Research Council, 2014-2016, with extended work in 2017, among them Larmgränd.

City Fables as a project is interested in how projections, fables and fictions can influence the negotiation and the formation of official as well as minor or personal histories of the city throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The stories studied and created include contemporary documents and historical projections. We engage in fables and fictions as a method of creation and research. Our process of “fabling” combines a careful use of documents with creative fictionalizing.

The project involves forms of collaborative and shared storytelling, through both fictive and documentary forms, in the urban environment. We aim to gain insight into how citizens can place themselves into various urban “scapes” or “imaginaries” by playing along with them or by countering them. The aim of the project is to conduct several experimental productions and interventions where the project group collaborates with citizens and groups living in Malmö.

LIVING ARCHIVES (funded by the Swedish Research Council, ending in 2017).

Living Archives addresses the challenges facing the digitized society through (1) the phenomena of public cultural heritage archives that increasingly are being digitized, and (2) the practices of archiving that are dramatically being transformed because of networked technologies.



I design and create digital media projects, particularly using mobile augmented reality media. I am interested in aesthetic, narrative and cultural applications and experiences in mixed media.

I work primarily in HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, and Adobe CS/CC.

Examples of work:

zorn-buttonThe Surface of Water: Worlds of Anders Zorn – a collaborative narrative AR-project with author Michael Joyce and Jay David Bolter. The project explores the Swedish artist Anders Zorn’s life and art through a locative media narrative that primarily uses the Argon-based panorama. Under development. Preparatory work was supported by the Harald and Louise Ekman Research foundation.

Performed at the Media Art Show of the International Literary Festival Ha!wangarda, Krákow October 9, 2016.

img1.pngMosaic – with Jay Bolter. In short, thoroughly unscientific interviews, we probe people’s use of mobile cinematic, video, and televisual material. We identify keywords and hashtags from interviews. These words and tags serve as search terms to retrieve the Twitter and Flickr images and texts that you see on the screen. The audio you hear are the recorded replies by subject to our cultural probe questions.

Exhibited at the MORE LIGHT exhibition at Eyedrum, Atlanta April 1-3, 2016.



I am currently working on two books:

Reality Media – about Augmented and Virtual Reality, with Jay David Bolter and Blair MacIntyre (under contract).

one book on contemporary location-based digital media, in part based on my work in Living Archives and City Fables.



Recent publications

“Jonathan Harris’s I Love Your Work: Procedurality and Weak Narrative” in Millenium Film Journal. No 64. Fall 2016.

Ubiquitous Computing, Complexity, and Culture. Ekman, Ulrik, Jay David Bolter, Lily Diaz, Morten Søndergaard and Maria Engberg, eds.  New York: Routledge, 2015.

A suite of articles about designing and analyzing locative media and mixed reality in Digital Creativity with Rebecca Rouse, Nassim JafariNaimi, and Jay Bolter: 

“Productive theory and creative practice in university education.” in Universitetet som medium. Matts Lindström and Adam Wickberg-Månsson, eds. Mediehistoriskt arkiv, Royal Library of Sweden, Book chapter. 2015.

“Polyaesthetic sights and sounds…” SoundEffects. 4.1. 2014

Introduction to Special Issue : “Cultural Expression in Augmented & Mixed Reality” Engberg and Bolter, eds. Convergence February 2014

“Performing Apps: Touch and Gesture as Aesthetic Experience” in special issue of Performance Research “On Writing and Digital Media” 18.5. 2014

As Affiliate Researcher at the Georgia Tech’s Augmented Environments Lab I work on Augmented & Mixed Reality applications and experience. With Jay David Bolter I have formed a collaboration, called far & near, in which we design and create mobile mixed reality experiences.

For more on our approach on augmented reality and the work at AEL: read  Media studies, mobile augmented reality and interaction design. Bolter, J., Engberg, M. and MacIntyre, B. ACM interactions. 20.1. January+February 2013.

We work with Argon4, an Augmented Reality Browser for iOS: 


Research in electronic/digital literature & the ELMCIP project.

During 2010-2013 I was Principal Investigator at BTH in the European research project: Developing a Network-Based Creative Community: Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice (ELMCIP) which was a collaborative research project funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) JRP for Creativity and Innovation. The main outcomes at BTH were

My PhD dissertation studied the interaction patterns, aesthetics and historical context of various genres of digital poetry (“Born Digital: Writing Poetry in the Age of New Media” Uppsala University, 2007: pdf).



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