Invisible Friend, 2016Text message serviceWebsite here
Invisible Friend was a free text message service for anyone who wanted to have an anonymous, personal conversation with someone who would always reply. During the two months Invisible Friend was running more than 1000 users exchanged some 18000 messages with the dedicated a team of writers who staffed the service from 8am until 2am daily.To participate one simply had to send a text message and Invisible Friend would reply shortly. The writers enter the conversations without any agenda of their own, their improvised replies are in response to the user’s input, who are directing the discussion. The user does not have to specify a purpose for the conversation, all they have to do is text whatever they want, and continue for as long as they want to. Invisible Friend fosters an intuitive form of thinking that doesn’t require an ultimate goal, a problem that must be solved, or a specific structure.The idea for Invisible Friend came from Takala’s experience of working at a text message service in the US, where the users pay for having a pretend girlfriend or boyfriend texting them. Takala was fascinated by the potential of the fictional space created in the text message exchanges, but like many of the other workers, she was frustrated by the inconsistencies and lack of quality in the existing service.
Commissioned by Helsinki Contemporary