We’ve selected eight projects from the Startup meets Artist & Startup for Citizens track to join the five ‘Artists for Media’ projects to continue on the MediaFutures Artist residency programme, achieving the goals of their support projects.

At the start of November 2022, we announced 24 new creative projects that join the Accelerator (startups & SMEs)/Residency (artists) programme of the MediaFutures support programme: 5 projects from the Artists for Media track directly started the residency programme, while 19 projects from the Startup meets Artist & Startup for Citizens track participated in the START phase of MediaFutures.

The teams from the ‘Startups for Citizens’ and ‘Startup meets Artist’ tracks had one month and up to €5,000 to refine their idea. In the middle of December, they then had to pitch their idea to a panel of judges from the MediaFutures consortium to win a place on the next stage of the programme.

We’re excited to announce the following projects will progress to the next phase: the BUILD stage.

Startups for Citizens

Each project will receive up to €50,000, plus five more months of support to take their ideas to the next level.

  • Online Debate for Impact. The project aims to empower readers to counter disinformation and misinformation in online discussion by allowing them to fact check their comments before they post them on the debating platform for media sites. 
  • Overtone: Misinformation based on Article DNA. Overtone provides insight by looking at the qualities of the text itself, rather than tertiary metrics such as clicks and shares. It uses the advances in NLP to make the type of data that teams of analysts could generate available to media companies.
  • POLLTIX: REDUCING POLARISATION THROUGH CONSENSUS-BUILDING. A new type of public consultation which aims to address the central issue behind the proliferation of disinformation. It will allow the public sector stakeholders to ask open-ended questions, while citizens will be able to submit their own answers and rate answers submitted by others. 
  • Queering the Quantified Self. A platform for citizens to create, own and analyse information about our bodies. It proposes an alternative: the users who make the data are the ones who own it; the communities who need the research run analyses themselves.

Startup meets Artist

For each project, the startup will receive up to €65,000 and the artist up to €30,000, plus five more months of support to take their ideas to the next level.

  • Blind Spots. An interactive audio walk which adapts dynamically to changing real world parameters. It focuses on cognitive biases and how they make us vulnerable to misinformation and manipulation. The audio walk draws the audience’s attention to the extent to which cognitive biases shape their everyday lives.
  • Dark Listening: Deconstructing Coercive Content Discovery in Music. Identities — like music — should be discovered, not assigned. A company that makes its money from advertising benefits from a customer base that fits neatly into algorithmic boxes that can be easily targeted with advertising and cultural messaging. 
  • fakingNE.WS: video discussions about post-truth. The project aims to look behind the scenes of fake news and misinformation by bringing together a diverse set of stakeholders in interactive video discussions. It involves artists, scientists, media experts, politicians and the general public to analyse post-truth narratives and co-develop micro mockumentaries for educational purposes. 
  • Head Radio. The project addresses the challenge of online misinformation and disinformation by creating an educational experience as a board game. The goal is to achieve engagement and empathy through gamification and storytelling rather than presenting dry facts and numbers.

“The participants at MediaFutures continue to impress with wonderful ideas, lots of creativity and amazing execution – and it is truly amazing what a broad range of topics these teams tackle.” – Nico Lumma, Managing Partner at NMA Venture Capital GmbH in Hamburg, Germany and one of the jury members.

The five artists selected to join the artist residency track ‘Artists for Media’, who did not participate in the pitch event, will also continue on the programme:

  • Ctrl. Alt. Img. Through an interactive installation, the project asks how to use data and dialogue to harness collective knowledge to arrive at an alternative approach to the way underrepresented groups are portrayed in the media and how this informs the way images are generated by machines and used.
  • Honest Signals. Honest Signals will reinforce the importance of high-quality media and also the need for citizens to critically engage with the information that is shared via social media platforms. The data focus for the residency project is climate disinformation where the cost of a polluted information ecosystem is a failure to take the urgent action needed to save the planet.
  • Mining Hate. Mining Hate is an improvised interactive performance built with audience generated content that seeks to create awareness of the practices used by anonymous hackers to target female journalists and minorities in India to spread misinformation.
  • Sock Puppet Theater. An interactive media artwork featuring animatronic sock puppets that speak the words of social media posts from sock puppet accounts known to have engaged in disinformation campaigns. Sock puppets are imposter social media accounts created to infiltrate groups, surveil, provoke, and spread disinformation.
  • Trolls vs Elves. I-Doc. “Trolls vs Elves” i-doc is a synergy between a documentary film and a game. It delves into the issue of disinformation online in the context of Ukrainian refugees, investigating the operations of internet trolls and activists called Cyber Elves.

You can read summaries for each project here.

We thank our prestigious jury panellists, who dedicated their time and expertise for our teams:

  • For Startups for Citizens:
    • Natasha Den Dekker, LexisNexis (tech)
    • Merlene Vrielmann, NMA (business)
    • Umesh Kumar, Mesh Consulting (business)
  • For Startup meets Artist:
    • Svenja Teichmann, Crowdmedia (business)
    • Nico Lumma, NMA (business)
    • Haiqi Bian, Bosch (tech)
    • Hugues Vinet, IRCAM (art)
    • Hannah Redler Hawes, Independent (art)