On August 28th, filmmaker Miranda July unveiled a new way to communicate: Somebody—a free app available from iTunes.

This public art project creates face-to-face connections for strangers via their smartphones. When you send your friend a message through Somebody, it goes not to your friend, but to the Somebody user nearest your friend. This person (likely a stranger) then delivers the message verbally, acting as your stand-in. The form of delivery can also be specified, from crying to singing to giving a hug. It’s texting meets performance.

Half-app / half-human, Somebody twists our love of avatars and outsourcing. It is the antithesis of the utilitarian efficiency that technology promises, an app that makes us nervous, giddy, and alert to the people around us.

“I see this as far-reaching public art project, inciting performance and conversation about the value of inefficiency and risk,”says July.

Somebody works best with a critical mass of users in a given area. The Walker Art Center is a featured hotspot, where museum-goers are invited to send and deliver messages.

Find out more at somebodyapp.com.