Maria Engberg: Using augmentation technologies to mediate stories

How may augmentation technologies be used to mediate ‘stories’ based on archival material? And how do you design for it? These are a few of the questions that Maria Engberg, assistant professor in media technology at Malmö University, will explore in the Living Archives research project.

For a brief introduction to her work and approach, see the video embedded below (or here on YouTube). A summary of the video is included below.

Video production: Jacek Smolicki.

Engberg’s research interests are in media theory and augmented/mixed reality technologies. She has been working with cultural heritage and creative expression, using mobile devices and various kinds of augmentation technologies.

Her role in the Living Archives project will be to work with augmented/mixed reality technologies as tools to mediate ‘stories’ based on archival material, but also to explore how we design these kinds of mediated experiences in place (e.g., in urban spaces), and how we can facilitate design processes that enable these experiences.

Maria Engberg talks about a recent project done in collaboration with the Naval Museum in Karlskrona:

– We were working with panorama technology to create an augmented reality experience for mobile devices. The purpose was to recreate a realistic experience of a submarine. The museum has two submarines, one of which has a ‘light and sound’ installation where the aim is to recreate what it feels like to work in a submarine. But, not everyone wants to enter into a submarine so we created an augmented reality experience that you could experience using your iPad.

Engberg continues:

– The project was really interesting because it presented a series of design problems. It also challenged how we think about ‘experience’ – between the device and the application, the photographs that we created, and the user. Particularly, we were asking questions about users with various kinds of constraints or special needs, which opened up for a possibility to think of the user not just as ‘anyone’ or ‘every man’ or ‘every woman’, but someone with various specific questions, concerns, and interests. That kind of project, although quite different than the things we might address in the Living Archives project, opened up a series of questions of methodologies of design for mobile technology, which I find really interesting and that I will continue to work with in this project and others in my research here at Malmö University.

Maria Engberg is assistant professor in media technology at Malmö University. She has a background at Blekinge Institute of Technology, and is a research affiliate at the Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Institute of Technology (US). She also works with Jay Bolter in Far & Near, an initiative that explores contemporary ways of “producing and consuming, writing and reading, creating and responding to media forms”.

Read more
Engberg’s publications on Google Scholar
– For an introduction in Swedish to Engberg’s work, see Expert på augmented reality.

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