She's written novels, made films and staged art exhibitions at galleries and biennials. Now Miranda July has her very own smartphone app. Called "Somebody," the app is about getting the real and the virtual to engage in a super crunchy group hug.
Send a message to a friend through the app and "Somebody" routes that message to a person standing nearby. That person then delivers your message verbally to your intended recipient.
"I see this as far-reaching public art project," says July in the press release, "inciting performance and conversation about the value of inefficiency and risk."
It is probably also a terrific opportunity to read other people's text messages.
Since the app depends on the geographic proximity of its users, several U.S. museums have signed up as hotspots, where users can send and deliver messages to each other. In L.A., the principal hotspot will be the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (where July is scheduled to give a talk in September).
Other museum hotspots include the New Museum in New York, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art in Orgeon, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Museo Jumex in Mexico City.
Created by graphic designer Thea Lorentzen and Stinkdigital, the app is tied to the release of Miranda's new short film "Somebody," (see a trailer), which screens today at the Venice Film Festival in Italy. And which later will be available for viewing on the website of fashion label Miu Miu, which sponsored the film.
The app also allows for the sender to include instructions that accompany the delivery of the message, such as hugs.
So hug it out, people. It's all we've got 'til the zombie apocalypse sets in.