The "Situationist" App Asks Strangers To Surprise You, Wherever You Are

By Katie Kindelan Comment

Out on the streets with your iPhone and looking to provoke a “situation,” and not the Jersey Shore kind? Look no further than a new app that promises to, “make your everyday life more thrilling and unpredictable.” Intrigued?

Check out the “Situationist,” a free iPhone app that connects you to random strangers to help you snap out of the routine of everyday life.

“Situationist” uses geolocation to alert members to each other’s proximity and get them to interact in random “situations.” Users upload their photo and pick the situations they want to happen to them from a list, knowing that those choices might then occur anywhere, and at any time.

The situations themselves stretch from the friendly (“compliment me on my haircut”) to the more passionate and political (“help me rouse everyone around us into revolutionary fervor and storm the nearest TV station”).

The same geolocation technologies that alert you to other users, also lets nearby participants know your location, and sends them your photo and one of your situations.

They must then find you within five minutes, perform your situation, and walk away

While the “Situationist” may seem like fun and games for the most adventurous and outgoing of iPhone users, it has a much larger purpose, as envisioned by its designers.

“When the media deliberately demonize strangers as pedophiles, stalkers or terrorists, it is time to fight back and reconnect with our fellow citizens and human beings,” said Ben Carey, one of the visionaries behind the app. “This is the precondition for radical political change.”

The name, “Situationist,” comes from Situationist International, the radical Marxist movement that sparked the may 1968 Paris riots and sought to transform everyday life and the world through experimental forms of behavior.

Carey designed the app along with his partner, Henrik Delehag, and John-Henry Barac, the creator of the Guardian app. Carey and Delehag are better known as “Benrik,” the artists and authors of the cult bestselling “This Diary Will Change Your Life” series.

The application was developed and released by Turned On Digital, a London-based mobile agency.

For users concerned about privacy, after all, it does promote random strangers knowing your whereabouts and approaching you, its creators take exception: “Situationist is moderated. The situations are initially picked from a shortlist. People can suggest their own situations, but these are vetted. Photos are moderated to exclude Chatroulette-style exhibitionism. And finally you can of course report anything dodgy.”

While also issuing a challenge: “However Situationist is not for the timorous: the whole point is to interact with complete strangers. And in fact it is a protest against the demonization of strangers encouraged by the media. Fear not!”

“Situationist” is available now in iTunes.