So, the world is full of special-purpose messaging apps. There's Snapchat, for sensitive (or just plain weird) messages that self-destruct. There's Yo, which... sends "Yo" alerts to your friends (no, really). And now there's Somebody, a new app and art project from artist and film director Miranda July, which allows you to send a message to your friend — via the Somebody user who happens to be nearest to your friend.
“I see this as far-reaching public art project, inciting performance and conversation about the value of inefficiency and risk,” says July in a release.
Here's how it works. You select a friend, you select an intermediary, write a message (along with actions like "fist bump" and tones like "somberly") and hit send. The intermediary then gets a buzz in their pocket, and goes off to find your friend and deliver the message as your stand-in.
Confused? Check out this video, directed by July, which premiered today at the Venice Film Festival (the project is sponsored by Miu Miu).
This isn't July's first foray into art that explores our online lives. Previously, she oversaw a project called We Think Alone, which combed through the sent mail folders of celebrities like NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Canadian author Sheila Heti for emails on different themes ("An email that's an apology," "An email with a link in it"). Those emails were collected and sent (with the "To" field anonymized) in weekly digests to subscribers.