Miranda July, the avant-garde filmmaker/artist/writer/content creator who introduced us to “pooping back and forth forever" and the eloquent emails of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, just launched an experimental messaging app today called Somebody. It works like this: Instead of directly and instantaneously sending a message to your friend (because that’s like sooo digital and boring), the service is cleverly designed so that a random third-party stranger who’s also on the app (and ideally located near the recipient) has to verbally deliver your message for you IN REAL LIFE.
So after you compose your message, which you can flavor with goofy actions (i.e. *fist bump*, *yawn*) and intonations (i.e. “romantically,” “gently”), the app provides the sender with a list of Somebodies / potential deliverers who are nearby. If nobody’s available to send your message, you can just let it “float” anonymously in this purgatorial cloud space, where it can be viewed by all Somebody-users, who can then decide if they want to take on the mission of delivering your message (to someone who is essentially a complete stranger to them). Once this daring delivery-person has tracked down the recipient (based on GPS data and a profile pic provided upon registering), he/she then verbally relays and performs the message-script out loud to the recipient. And then the deliverer and the recipient share this awkward magical bonding moment and voila! Message: Delivered.
If that was difficult to wrap your head around, then I’d recommend just downloading the damn thing and exploring the interface. It’s a quirky, bold, sophisticated, and playful social experiment / public art project that’s all about bringing random strangers together, and I’m all about that… which is why I volunteered to deliver someone else’s floating message! I mean, that’s the whole point of this thing, right?
My mom left me this message way back in 2011, and I saved it because, for some reason, it just screamed “hip-hop club anthem” to me? Like, after playing it over and over again, I had this bizarre revelation where I couldn’t un-hear this rhythmic, sample-worthy quality in how she says “Friday night… Saturday night…”; so then I imagined chopping it and looping it, and slowing it down just a tad, and adding layers of high-energy percussion to it, until finally I was bobbing along to this insane, maximalist, amorphous beat I had produced in my head… you (kinda/sorta) hear it too, right?! In her cadence? Or am I just cray-cray?
Anyways, my mind wanders to questionable places, but I’ve always wanted to learn how to mess around with music editing software like Logic/Reason/Ableton, so I might as well focus my tutorial project on sampling my mom’s irate late-night voicemail into a catchy hip-hop club-banger hook??? What’s a good program for beginners? Basically what I’m asking is: HOW DO I BECOME KANYE WEST/RICK RUBIN?
Btw, pictured above is indeed Mama Roy herself, in her 20’s I think, pulling off the sari-with-aviators look like a boss. :) And here’s a rough Bangla-to-English translation of what she’s saying in the voicemail: "What’s going on, son? You do it on a Friday night, you do it on a Saturday night, what’s the deal?! Call me!"
Dr. Bigelow: So you took a chance on being happy even though you knew that later on you would be sad?
Bigelow: And now you're sad?
Louie: *nods* Yeah.
Bigelow: So what's the problem?
Louie: I'm too sad. [pause] Look, I liked the feeling of being in love with her, I liked it. But now she's gone and I miss her and it sucks, and I didn't think it was gonna be this bad, and I feel like why even be happy if it's just gonna lead to this? It wasn't worth it.
Bigelow: Misery is wasted on the miserable.
Bigelow: You know, I'm not entirely sure what your name is, but you are a classic idiot. You think spending time with her, kissing her, having fun with her, you think that's what it was all about? That was love?
Bigelow: THIS is love. Missing her because she's gone, wanting to die; you're so lucky, you're like a walking poem. Would you rather be some kind of a fantasy, some kind of a Disney ride? Is that what you want? Don't you see this is the good part, this is what you've been digging for all this time. Now you finally have it in your hands, this sweet nugget of love - sweet, sad love - and you wanna throw it away. You've got it all wrong.
Louie: I thought this was the bad part?
Bigelow: No! The bad part is when you forget her, when you don't care about her, when you don't care about anything. The bad part is coming so enjoy the heartbreak while you can, for god sakes.