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Listening for place and tele-presence

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INTIMAL App©. Original Idea and Artistic Direction: Dr. Ximena Alarcón-Díaz.

Programmer: Kieran Harte.  2020-2023.

INTIMAL is an immersive walkabout telematic listening environment for tuning in while sensing place and presence through deep embodied sonic rituals.

The App is part of the INTIMAL system for relational listening, inspired by the migratory experience.

The INTIMAL App has been experienced as an interface/instrument with others in the STRP Festival 2023 - Scenario 22 (Eindhoven), Soundings: Assemblies of Listenings and Voices across the Souths (Berlin, August 2022), Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (July, 2022), Migration Matters Festival with the Intimal Collective (Sheffield, June 2022), GEXLAT with Intimal Collective (April 2022), Earth Day Telematic Festival (April 2022), Sensing: The Knowledge of Sensitive Media Research Group - The Brandenburg Centre for Media Studies (ZeM) (June, 2021), and originally developed and tested in Bath with the project UNLOCK, awarded by The Studio Recovery Fund, Bath Spa University 2021.

To experience a sonic ritual using the INTIMAL App with your community, contact me at: 

Original project- INTIMAL: A physical/virtual system for Relational Listening


INTIMAL is envisioned as a long term sustainable modular system for interfaces for relational listening that incorporate customizable tools for ‘tuning’ in our contemporary sense of place, through telematic sonic performance artistic practice.

INTIMAL is a physical-virtual embodied system for relational listening that explores the body as interface that keeps memory of place, in the context of human migration.

INTIMAL integrates interfaces that invite people to listen to their migrations, and improvise with body movement and vocal sounds, in co-located and telematic performances (between distant locations).

INTIMAL embraces two key aspects in the context of human migration: sense of place and sense of presence.

STAGE 1 (2017-2019)

INTIMAL was informed with the experiences of Colombian migrant women in Europe, listening to their migratory journeys. ​ In its first stage, INTIMAL has prototyped three software modules MEMENTO, RESPIRO and TRANSMISSION. MEMENTO, is a navigator of an oral archive with Colombian women’s testimonies of conflict and migration; RESPIRO, is a sonification patch that transmits real-time breathing data across different locations; TRANSMISSION, the solutions developed for audio streaming between cities, performers, audiences and an open braodcast. ​ It was tested in a Long Distance Improvisation (a telematic sonic performance) by the INTIMAL community between the cities of London, Oslo, and Barcelona (see video below). I have just launched (2021) the INTIMAL documentary where you can see the full story of the INTIMAL project (see video below). ​

STAGE 2 (2019 - present)

Intimal App© is a mobile phone application developed by Ximena Alarcón that invites people to listen to tune in with the environment experiencing sonic migrations rituals, by walking in their surroundings, to sense place and sense presence, alone and with others across distant locations. The app senses users’ walking rhythms to be sonified and perceived as breathing. When used collectively, people can hear each others’ walking patterns as “breathing”, feeling embodied emotional telepresence. Within the journey the app reveals excerpts of stories of migration, that might trigger a response from the user, building the path with words and memories, as relations emerge and connect in an exercise of shared memories. This current artistic and technical implementation was funded by The Studio Recovery Fund, awarded by The Studio, Bath Spa University's Enterprise and Innovation Hub. This fund helped to 'unlock' the possibilities of the App by developing a service for the INTIMAL app and test its usability, within the context of the pandemic lockdown. The service aims to create local and distant connections by sensing rhythms, opening new paths and insights in people’s daily limited walks during and after the pandemic lockdown, and ‘unlock’ contemporary stories of local places, triggered by voices of Colombian migrant women. This work was tested and implemented in collaboration with Service Designer Dr Liliana Rodríguez, and the programmer Kieran Harte.

This is a documentary about the project INTIMAL. 

Follow the INTIMAL project on this dedicated website:

This is a video of the Long Distance Improvisation INTIMAL. 

Funding and Collaborators

The first stage of INTIMAL was developed at the RITMO Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Rhythm, Time and Motion, Department of Musicology at the University of Oslo. INTIMAL received the collaboration of Diaspora Women for the use of oral archives, and from the Center for Deep Listening- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, for the virtual communication platform. The following organisations supported the realisation of the INTIMAL telematic sonic improvisatory performance, where the interfaces were tested by improvisers from the INTIMAL community: Melahuset and VoxLab (Oslo), PHONOS Foundation and University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), Iklectik ArtLab and CRiSAP-University of the Arts London (London).


The INTIMAL project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska- Curie grant agreement No. 752884, and has been partially supported by the Research Council of Norway through its Centres of Excellence scheme, project number 262762.

The second stage of INTIMAL is being nourished by residences and exchange at The Studio (Bath Spa University), the Center for Deep Listening, Centro de Residencias Artisticas Matadero, Madrid.

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