Public spaces can seem pretty alienating these days. Take a look around—on the bus, in the park, on the street, even at the dinner table—and it feels like most everyone is focused deep into the rabbit hole of their phones.
This fall, the Walker will participate in a new project from the genre-defying make-believer/people-connector Miranda July that seeks to turn our love affair with our cell phones into real-life, face-to-face interactions with strangers.
Today at the Venice Film Festival, July launched a free iPhone messaging app called Somebody, along with a short film about how it might be used.
Somebody uses GPS to find other app users in close proximity to the people you already know. Instead of sending your friend a text directly, you’ll ask someone else nearby (likely a stranger) to deliver your message, in person, to the recipient. Want your message to be a singing telegram, or to couch it in air quotes? The app’s interface also includes actions to assign to your stand-in (or you can create your own).
Anybody can use Somebody at any time, but the technology relies upon having app users close to one another. To encourage experimentation with the app, July has established a first wave of “hotspots” at several art centers across the country, and the Walker is proud to be among them.
So, join us at any Target Free Thursday Night in the next two months (leading up to the World Premiere of Miranda July’s New Society here on October 30 and 31), as we play with strangers using Somebody. And we’ll have somebody else (a real live person!) on hand to help answer questions.
As July says of Somebody, “I see this as far-reaching public art project, inciting performance and conversation about the value of inefficiency and risk.”
For loads more information and to download the app, visit somebodyapp.com.