Having owned an iPhone for all of one month, I’m still a bit leery of all it can purportedly do for me. Convenience is great, but I’m not sure I’m ready to cede control of all the little tasks, challenges, and puzzles my own imperfect brain has been handling more or less well for nearly half a century.
I don’t hate blundering. And I really like interacting with librarians, local residents, and strangers who might be willing to use my camera to take a group photo in a restaurant or scenic location.
Filmmaker Miranda July’s just released Somebody is, I suspect, something of a niche app.
If you cringe at the idea of flash mobs, Improv Everywhere, and audience interactive theater, it is most definitely not for you.
It’s absolutely perfect for me (or will be once I get up to speed on my touchscreen.)
Basically, you take a selfie, create a profile, and wait for a stranger to select you to deliver a live message as his or her proxy. In addition to trawling the area for the designated recipient, you may be called upon to weep, hug, or get on your knees to get that message across.
Will you make a new friend? Probably not, but you will definitely share a moment.
And because no good deed goes unrewarded, your performance will be open to the vagaries of customer review, a humiliation July does not shy from in the promotional video above.
Is this app for real?
Yes, especially if you live in LA, New York, or another culturally rich Somebody hotspot.
If you don’t---or if receiving a message delivered, in all likelihood, by a tech savvy hipster, makes your flesh crawl---you can still enjoy the film as a comment on our digital existence, as well as a reflection of July’s ongoing desire to connect.
Watch Miranda July’s Short Film on Avoiding the Pitfalls of Procrastination
Learn to Make Buttons with Filmmaker Miranda July
David Sedaris Reads You a Story By Miranda July
Ayun Halliday is an author, homeschooler, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday