Filmmaker Miranda July has launched a curious new app in which third party messengers deliver missives to strangers, kind of like a modern-day "singing telegram."
The app, which is a collaboration with fashion brand Miu Miu, is called 'Somebody,' and you can download it for free from the iTunes store. (Sorry, Android users.)
To get started, you create a profile that includes a photograph so that potential messengers will be able to identify you. Then, you can either send or deliver a message. To send, you choose a participating contact. You can give your messenger instructions regarding tone of voice and action. For instance, you can direct your messenger to hug the recipient and then gently tell them to have a good day. You can choose your proxy based on who is near the recipient, who will then be assigned the mission of hunting them down—using GPS and the provided photo—and delivering. Recipients can rate the performance of a proxy. If there is no one near your recipient, you can choose to put the message in 'floating,' where it can be picked up by a volunteer. You can see 'floating' messages organized by distance. For instance, the first message that comes up for us is a simple fist bump. Another floating message requests the 'somebody' buy the recipient a cup of coffee. Another requests a song and dance routine to Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World."
A large number of users in one area obviously makes the app and experience easier to explore, so a number have been set up around the world, including one in Los Angeles. While users can create their own hotspots, too, there is an official hot spot at LACMA on September 11. The best part may actually be this short film, Women's Tales 8, that acts as a companion piece to the app. The characters are outfitted in Miu Miu clothes, and in classic July fashion, it gets kind of weird at the end.
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