INTIMAL App©

INTIMAL App© is a mobile phone application developed by Ximena Alarcón that invites people to listen to their “migratory journeys”, 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.

The app has provided first-hand narrative accounts about the migration experiences of Colombian women living in Europe. It has also invited walkers to record and share voices that emerge, which the app reveals for others as they walk together, interrelating experiences and connecting sonically, in a shared present.

The first 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 into people’s daily limited walks during and after the pandemic lockdown, and ‘unlock’ contemporary stories of local places, triggered by the voices of Colombian migrant women. This work was tested and implemented in collaboration with Service Designer Dr Liliana Rodríguez, and the programmer Kieran Harte. I have written an article about the artistic development of this work in the Journal for Network Music and Arts.

Since the first iteration, I have continued the development of the INTIMAL App© with the programming support of Kieran Harte. I have presented the app and developed further my ideas through my participation in the NowNet Arts conference (November, 2021), and the SLOMOCO Micro-Residency (October-December 2021). I developed further ideas of walking and agency in the CAMERA Motion Capture Centre, in collaboration with Silvia Calderelli. I have used the App as an interface/instrument with others in the Earth Day Telematic Festival (April 2022), GEXLAT with Intimal Collective (April 2022), Migration Matters Festival with the Intimal Collective (Sheffield, June 2022), Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (July, 2022), and Soundings: Assemblies of Listenings and Voices across the Souths (Berlin, August 2022).