Super Frustrated NYC Modern Love Stories, my work-in-progress masters thesis project at NYU ITP, is a living archive of location based audio stories that provides a glimpse into how millennials date in New York City.
Watch my 10 minute presentation on how I started, experimented and arrived here.
You can also read about my process on my journal.
For many millennials, finding romantic love in digital age New York City appears to be unbearably challenging. We are active participants in the swipe economy which attempted to disrupt romance but actually sabotaged our love lives.
After the launch of Tinder in 2012, online dating is now the norm. We re-invented heterosexual relationships in self-destructive ways: we added ghosting to communication and regard monogamy as an outdated idea. Why not? Unlimited choices are presented right in front of us! Paradoxically, in a hidden corner of our subconscious, we still expect our date to text back to us and somehow hope to find the one big love of our life.
Yes, I am one of these millennials who is burned out by modern dating. But instead of staying unhappily single and questioning our approaches, maybe we should collectively voice our hopes and disappointments of this NYC phenomenon. Let’s honor our stories as solace to those who shared the same frustrations and entertaining guidance for those who did not have the opportunity to experience our dating culture.
Inspired by speculations on future romance like Spike Jonze’s “Her”, Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster”, Black Mirror’s “Hang the DJ”, Gary Shteyngart’s “Super Sad True Love Story” and love cliches from early 2000s romantic comedies like Donald Petrie’s “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” and Darren Star’s “Sex and the City”, Super Frustrated NYC Modern Love Stories depicts how millennials currently fall in love in the age of online dating.
Who cares? Popular books about contemporary relationship like Aziz Ansari’s “Modern Romance” and Blythe Roberson’s “How to date men when you hate men” as well as Netflix’s recently released reality TV show “Dating Around” confirm that there is a fairly high demand for this subject. Millennials who are single and dating like to talk about their experiences that many of those who are not part of the group enjoy listening to. Super Frustrated NYC Modern Love Stories re-imagined New York Times Modern Love essays, Overheard New York’s Instagram posts and Humans of New York’s photo journal through voice and space. It provides you a series of audio stories that pop up on a mobile site as you walk through New York City.
Why voice? Ansari discussed in his book that many millennials are terrified of phone calls as our ability to converse spontaneously weakens in a text-filled world. It is time to rebuild what we have lost and reintroduce voice into our lives.
To begin, simply go to Super Frustrated NYC Modern Love Stories and enable your location in your default browser. An audio story will pop up if you happen to be at a point of New York City where a frustrating date took place. You can listen to the story by clicking the play button. If you are in a noisy place (like most bars in NYC), you can read about the story in text by clicking the "Read in text" button.
To all the storytellers
Evan Forde Barden, Lauren Race, Jillian Zhong, Max Horwich, Matt Newberg, Jelani Bektemba, Shreiya Chowdhary, Damian Ashton, Mark Lam, Sam Chasan, Sam Krystal, Jenna Xu, Amanda Hendon, Mackenzie Bennett and Tiffany Chang.
And everyone who helped me along the way to making this project possible
Shawn Van Every, Nicolás Escarpentier, Danny Rozin, Kat Sullivan, Devin Curry, Fanni Fazakas, Daniel Benyi, Ayaka Omoto, Grace Chuang, Paul Gisbrecht, Suzanne Li, Hafi, Caroline Neel, Caroline Fahey, Roland Arnoldt, Brandon Newberg, Maï Izsak, Asha Veeraswamy, Jim Schmitz, Dominic Barrett, Hayley Hwang, Rushali Paratey, Emma Norton, MH Rahmani, Dan Oved, Katya Rozanova, Matt Ross, Winslow Porter, Tina Huang, Andrea Yang, the Keybar crew, Mom and Dad.