I am a Postdoc in the field of human-computer interaction based in Denmark. My research focuses on computational media as a possible future of software.


I am a computer scientist in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI). I obtained both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Konstanz in Germany. During my master’s degree, I started working as a research assistant for the HCI group in Konstanz. During that time, I was able to partake in several HCI-related projects—both for course work and research.

Currently, I am a Postdoc in the department of computer science at Aarhus University in Denmark. I did my PhD under the supervision of Susanne Bødker and Clemens Klokmose. My current research focuses on computational media as a possible future of software.


Exploring Computational Media as a Possible Future of Software

In thinking about software, we often think about monolithic applications on specific devices: We use our laptop to write text in Microsoft Word or edit photos in Adobe Photoshop, use our tablet with pen input to read and annotate documents in Adobe Acrobat Reader, and use our phones to chat in WhatsApp on the go.

By doing so, applications compartmentalize functionality into fixed silos—applications are good at doing what they do, but going beyond that, they are usually highly inflexible. When editing photos, one would rarely take up Word, and vice versa, one would not use Photoshop for writing text documents. Further, are options to tailor and extend applications often sparse and centered around visual changes such as toolbars, rarely allowing users to extend functionality itself without using additional development software.

The notion of computational media looks at software from a different angle. Instead of seeing it as tools for a specific task, it sees it as a malleable medium that the user can form and mold to their own needs and easily share with others. Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg compare computational media with paper or clay, allowing for many different ways of using it. Recently, research and commercial products picked up this sentiment of software as a medium in platforms such as Webstrates or Notion—their potentials and limitations, however, are mostly unexplored.

My research aims to explore computational media and contributes by defining properties and values of it, exploring potentials and limits of it, and identifying domains and use cases where computational media thrives. As these aims are rooted in exploratory research, my approach focuses on qualitative methods and the creation of high-fidelity prototypes. These prototypes allow people to glance into possible futures of software as a malleable medium rather than monolithic applications. The insights of my work intend to shift the focus of software towards a malleable and shareable foundation, overcoming boundaries of applications and devices.


Publications related to my PhD research:

Marcel Borowski, Bjarke V. Fog, Carla F. Griggio, James R. Eagan, and Clemens N. Klokmose. 2022. Between Principle and Pragmatism: Reflections on Prototyping Computational Media with Webstrates. In ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI). DOI: 10.1145/3569895

Marcel Borowski and Clemens N. Klokmose. 2022. Webstrates, Codestrates v2, and Varv: A Software Stack for Computational Media. In Adjunct Proceedings of the 2022 Nordic Human-Computer Interaction Conference (NordiCHI Adjunct '22). DOI: 10.1145/3547522.3547714

Marcel Borowski, Luke Murray, Rolf Bagge, Janus Bager Kristensen, Arvind Satyanarayan, and Clemens N. Klokmose. 2022. Varv: Reprogrammable Interactive Software as a Declarative Data Structure. In Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '22). DOI: 10.1145/3491102.3502064

Marcel Borowski, Janus Bager Kristensen, Rolf Bagge, and Clemens N. Klokmose. 2021. Codestrates V2: A Development Platform for Webstrates. Technical Report. Aarhus University. URL: Aarhus University

Marcel Borowski and Ida Larsen-Ledet 2021. Lessons Learned from Using Reprogrammable Prototypes with End-User Developers. In International Symposium on End User Developments (IS-EUD '21). DOI: 10.1007/978‑3‑030‑79840‑6_9

Marcel Borowski. 2021. Exploring Possible Futures With Computational Media. In Proceedings of 19th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work — Doctoral Colloquium Papers (ECSCW '21). DOI: 10.18420/ecscw2021_dc05

Ida Larsen-Ledet and Marcel Borowski. 2020. “It Looks Like You Don’t Agree”: Idiosyncratic Practices and Preferences in Collaborative Writing. In 32nd Australian Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (OzCHI '20). DOI: 10.1145/3441000.3441032

Midas Nouwens, Marcel Borowski, Bjarke Fog, and Clemens Nylandsted Klokmose. 2020. Between Scripts and Applications: Computational Media for the Frontier of Nanoscience. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '20). DOI: 10.1145/3313831.3376287

Marcel Borowski, Johannes Zagermann, Clemens N. Klokmose, Harald Reiterer, and Roman Rädle. 2020. Exploring the Benefits and Barriers of Using Computational Notebooks for Collaborative Programming Assignments. In Proceedings of the 51st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE '20). DOI: 10.1145/3328778.3366887

Marcel Borowski, Roman Rädle, and Clemens N. Klokmose. 2018. Codestrate Packages: An Alternative to “One-Size-Fits-All” Software. In Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems  (CHI EA '18). DOI: 10.1145/3170427.3188563

Publications of other projects I was involved in:

Maximilian Dürr, Marcel Borowski, Carla Gröschel, Ulrike Pfeil, Jens Müller, and Harald Reiterer. 2021. KiTT - The Kinaesthetics Transfer Teacher: Design and Evaluation of a Tablet-based System to Promote the Learning of Ergonomic Patient Transfers. In Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '21). DOI: 10.1145/3411764.3445496

Maximilian Dürr, Ulrike Pfeil, Jens Müller, Marcel Borowski, Carla Gröschel, and Harald Reiterer. 2019. Learning Patient Transfers with Technology: A Qualitative Investigation of the Design Space. In Proceedings of Mensch und Computer 2019 (MuC '19). DOI: 10.1145/3340764.3340784

Moritz Skowronski, Jonathan Wieland, Marcel Borowski, Daniel Fink, Carla Gröschel, Daniel Klinkhammer, and Harald Reiterer. 2018. Blended Museum: The Interactive Exhibition “Rebuild Palmyra?”. In Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (MUM 2018). DOI: 10.1145/3282894.3289746


Feel free to contact me via email or on LinkedIn or XING if you want to know more or if you just want to say hello. You can also find me on Google Scholar and on my Aarhus University profile.

I am also interested in photography in my free time. You can find my photos and artistic work on my photography website.