Do you remember those awful moments that required an enormous amount of willpower or, even worse, liquid courage to tell someone what you really meant? Well, those days seem to be over now thanks to a simple, yet unlikely very useful, app that could help you avoid saying you didn’t love someone anymore straight to their face.
The discrepancy between means of communication available and the quality of what we communicate is subtly overturned in Miranda July’s new project, “Somebody”. The project consists of an app, a new messaging service, that works by sending a message you want to deliver through the nearest Somebody user, allowing you to avoid difficult conversations and awkward, gladly avoided situations. July says about the app: “Half-app/half-human, Somebody is a far-reaching public art project that incites performance and twists our love of avatars and outsourcing — every relationship becomes a three-way. The antithesis of the utilitarian efficiency that tech promises, here, finally, is an app that makes us nervous, giddy, and alert to the people around us.”
Somebody was created as the eighth commission in Miu Miu’s Womens’ Tales project, a short-film series by women directors who critically celebrate femininity in the 21st century, which includes contributions by Zoe Cassavetes, Giada Colagrande, Hiam Abbass, Ava Du Vernay, Massy Tadjedin, Lucrecia Martel and So Yong Kim. The Somebody short-film shows how the app works in a delightfully bittersweet and subtly ironic way, while it also displays Miranda July’s unique ability to capture the strange tenderness of contemporary relationships: “Jessica wants to tell Caleb she can’t be his girlfriend anymore. She opens up Somebody, types in the heartbreaking message, and selects Paul from a list. Paul is in the park. Paul’s phone dings. He eyes Caleb having a picnic. Paul delivers the bad news—as Jessica. Eyes bawling. Arms flapping. Caleb is devastated. The Somebody app then totally saves Yolanda and Blanca’s friendship, makes Jeffy’s marriage proposal to lonely Victoria, and initiates a curious ménage-a-trois between two prison workers and a parched potted plant named Anthony.”Rujana Rebernjak