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Artists and startups use data to tackle misinformation challenges


Media Futures a new data innovation hub project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, which aim is to bring together startups, SMEs and artists to solve challenges in the media industry and in which ZABALA is responsible for the open calls and actively participating in the dissemination and social innovation actions; they announced today the first projects to join their support programmes.

Alexandra Garatzogianni, Coordinator of MediaFutures, Head of Knowledge and Technology Transfer at TIB and Coordinator of EU Projects at Leibniz University of Hannover, said: “The infodemic that has accompanied the coronavirus pandemic over the last year has demonstrated the urgent need to tackle misinformation. In MediaFutures we are establishing a multidisciplinary data innovation hub for Europe where startups, SMEs and artists receive the necessary multifaceted support to further develop their ideas and solutions, thus strengthening the media industry in new and exciting ways. We are delighted to welcome the first startups, SMEs and artists to the MediaFutures programme and to see them growing during the next six months”.

Artists and startups join the Media Futures programme

19 projects will receive funding, mentoring, and training to develop innovative ideas to tackle misinformation using data. MediaFutures has three programmes: ‘Artists for Media’, an artist residency, ‘Startups for Citizens’, a startup accelerator, and ‘Startup meets Artist’, a unique programme that supports artists and startups to work together on one project.

5 projects will incorporate into the artist residency programme, receiving up to 30,000 euros. In addition, 7 startups and 7 collaborative projects between startups and artists will receive €5,000 and a month to develop their idea. They will then have the opportunity to apply and win one of the seven places in the next phase of the programme, receiving up to 80,000 euros.

Artists for Media

The following projects join the artist residency programme:

  • Critical Climate Machine: visual artist Gaëtan Robillard will develop a digital sculpture and sound installation that quantifies and reveals the mechanisms of misinformation on global warming.
  • The Evil Magic Mirror: Obvious Collective, a group of artists who work with artificial intelligence, will create a mirror where whoever stands in front of it communicates fake content about well-known conspiracy theories.
  • Social Sandwich: Artistic studio Fast Familiar will develop a social artwork based on an app that encourages people to encounter the unfamiliar and practice the arts of cooperation and critical thinking.
  • Soft Evidence: conceptual artists Dejha Ti and Ania Catherine will create a series of slow visual scenes that never happened – films manipulated by machines trained to lie.
  • 730 Hours of Violence: Domestic Data Streamers, a mix of designers, social scientists, engineers and creative technologists, will combine the power of storytelling with data and arts for a participatory project exploring misinformation and violence.

Startup for Citizens

The following projects join the startup accelerator programme:

  • ATMOSPHERES: harnessing participatory arts, design and emerging digital technologies the startup Hum Studio Interactive will develop an app to encourage young people to engage with climate change issues through music and augmented reality.
  • Closing the Gap – the Gokind venture: powered by the EU’s Open Banking framework the startup Gokind will improve citizens’ access to information on companies’ sustainability and equality efforts.
  • Contemporary Tab: a team of artists, cultural and non-profit workers will develop a digital platform where people can engage with quality art journalism and support the arts.
  • Comms Open the Box: Dataninja will develop an educational digital platform for teachers and educators to teach data literacy to students in order to counter disinformation.
  • DEEP: startup XR Impact will create an immersive VR experience, leveraging behavioural science and a data feminist framework, to assess and contexualize Covid-19 data
  • ISKA42: startup OWN Intelligence will build a machine learning-powered, digital assistant to make scientific knowledge available to anyone through their mobile phone.
  • SURU Together: developing a community-focused platform, using data about coronavirus, to encourage conversations among diverse groups and meaningful discussions in small groups, to address community-level issues.

Startup meets Artist

The following projects join the collaborative programme for joint startup and artist teams:

  • Community of Conversation: circular economy startup Mercato Circolare will collaborate with artistic collective Pop Economix to create an interactive theatrical show about climate change.
  • COVID-AR: Augmented Reality startup Intellia ICT will collaborate with artistic company Till Noon to build 3D graphics, animations and AR content to fight misinformation around the pandemic and improve data literacy.
  • How to read a Library: Studio Remco van Bladel, a multidisciplinary design studio, will collaborate with artist Mariana Darvas Lanari to develop digital tools and artworks that help people to access and share the knowledge contained in library collections.
  • HYPERViz: Space and software startup ScanWorld will collaborate with interdisciplinary team from Studio De Wilde to engage the general public with how satellite imagery can assist society, from environmental management to the way pandemics affect society
  • JECT-SENSE: Ject.AI, a digital tool for newsrooms, will collaborate with media artist Antoni Petrov Rayzhekov to develop novel and unconventional ways for journalists and a general audience to engage with news coverage
  • PONTE: EZC.Partners and The Cynefin Centre will collaborate with visual artist Annika Varjonen to combine technology platforms, narrative data and art to tackle division and radicalisation in communities, as well as developing a plug-in to social media that points users to content that differs from what they usually see
  • SINE: AI startup IN2 will collaborate with installation and film artist Haseeb Ahmed to create a tool to study how science is reported, at times sensationalised, and even forgotten

For more information on each project, please visit: https://mediafutures.eu/projects/

MediaFutures will launch its second open call in 2021. For more information on the programme, please visit: https://mediafutures.eu/