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Miranda July’s New App is Different

Somebody app

The world, despite a gazillion ways to get in touch, is a lonely space these days. Spike Jonze even made a movie about it – see Her for a meditation on the whole sorry future, where Siri is your only pal. Loneliness is a cross-generational social issue. A UK study found that one third of elderly people are plagued by isolation, with it affecting their health. In a 2010 study concerns about loneliness among young people actually surpassed those of older adults. Robin Williams’ quote, “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone,” has become even more poignant in recent weeks.

However, artist/actress/writer Miranda July is on a mission to change these incommunicative times. With an app. And with Miu Miu. Somebody is a messaging service that relies on both interwebby and human connection. Once you’ve downloaded Somebody – so far available on iOS only – you send a message to your friend. Sounds pedestrian so far, doesn’t it? Well, this is where things get Miranda July. Instead of the message arriving directly in your pal’s inbox, it arrives in a neighbouring Somebody user’s. That recipient must then relay your message to its intended somebody verbally, in person, like the olden days. As the tagline goes, ‘Texting is tacky. Calling is awkward. Email is old.’ You can also command your messenger to relay an action, such as ‘fist bump’ and ‘tell your life story’.

Real life example? Your significant other is at the shops and you want to request chocolate Hobnobs. Send a message via the app and your partner will get a surprise in the confectionery aisle as a stranger says ‘Jeanne says she needs chocolate Hobnobs.’ Actually, plain old texting might be better for that sort of thing but it never hurts to shake things up. Also Somebody might lead to new friendships being born!

Miu Miu are supporting July in her endeavours and the app was launched yesterday at the Venice Film Festival. Somebody also has official hot spots so if you find yourself in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, New York’s The New Museum, The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), or the Museo Jumex in Mexico City do log on.

Check out somebodyapp.com and, below, the chicly surreal video on which July collaborated with Miu Miu.

Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun

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