Mozilla wants to pay you $15,000 to draw your concept of fake news

Get out those paint brushes and fire up Adobe Illustrator; Mozilla is looking for the world’s next great work of art. The muse: Fake news.

The technology company announced that it’s looking to support artists and developers who have ideas about how to visualize fake news through any combination of art, mixed media and public demonstrations. In a blog post Tuesday, Katharina Borchert, chief innovation officer, said the challenge — alliteratively titled Reality Redrawn — aims to surface work that paints a clearer picture of online misinformation.

“We live in strange times in which legitimate news organizations such as CNN have to launch advertising campaigns to remind people what real information is,” she said. “Throughout historic moments of upheaval people have used art to make sense of what appears to be dystopian reality.”

Mozilla is putting its money where its mouth is. Artists can vie for three different levels of financial support by submitting proposals. One semi-finalist will receive $15,000 to pursue their misinformation-related project, while two pairs of two will receive $7,500 and $5,000 each.

The criteria for Reality Redrawn read more like a fact-checking proposal than an art contest: “Focuses on facts,” “clearly demonstrates the proliferation of fake news,” “solutions grounded in engineering and behavioral science.” Judging begins Jan. 3 and finishes Jan. 15, and winners will have three months to finish their projects.

“We would like artists to come up with something that gives people a different perspective on misinformation, echo chambers and filter bubbles,” Borchert said in an email to Poynter. “Mixed reality including virtual reality happens to be a space where Mozilla is growing its influence and we would love to see submissions that use web technology. But whether you’re a clay sculptor, or a glass blower, or work with cardboard, really the floor is open to all artists to show us what you can do.”

In addition to the cash, the winners of Reality Redrawn will exhibit their work at The Tech Museum of Information in San Jose, California.

The art contest is part of Mozilla’s Information Trust Initiative, which launched in August to combat misinformation using “new products, internet literacy, research and loosely defined ‘creative interventions,’” Poynter previously reported. Reality Redrawn is one of the first outgrowths of that initiative, the full remit of which has yet to be made public.

In keeping with the goals of the broader initiative, Borchert said she hopes the art contest will give rise to some interesting ideas to counter online misinformation.

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