INTIMAL System – Stage 1

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

Overview INTIMAL system. See details in Alarcon Diaz, Ximena, Paul Boddie, Cagri Erdem, Eigil Aandahl, Elias Sukken Andersen, Eirik Dahl, Mari Lesteberg, and Alexander Refsum Jensenius. “Sensing Place and Presence in an INTIMAL Long-Distance Improvisation.” Journal of Network Music and Arts 1, 1 (2019).

Documentary INTIMAL Project. 2017-2019.

INTIMAL integrates technological interfaces that invite people to listen to their migrations and to improvise with body movement, voice and words, in networked and telematic performances  (between distant locations). These are technologically mediated “embodied” interfaces to explore sense of place and sense of presence through telematic sonic improvisation, listening to relations involving body, memory and place, in the context of human migration. This development seems to be relevant not only for people who have experienced migration, but for everyone feeling dislocated in the current world context of the pandemic and deeper human uncertainty.

The first stage of INTIMAL was developed at the RITMO Centre of Excellence at the University of Oslo (2017-2019). The second stage of the project is being developed with the support of The Studio at Bath Spa University, and I am currently working on a prototype of an INTIMAL mobile app to explore Migratory Journeys.


The interfaces in INTIMAL make relations between walking, breathing and oral memories. Walking is proposed as the movement in search for place and directions, and breathing as a bridge to feel presence (co-located and between distant locations), and togetherness.

In the first stage, INTIMAL prototyped and developed three modules envisioning interfaces: MEMENTO, RESPIRO and TRANSMISSION.

INTIMAL has released two modules in GitHub:

  • MEMENTO, a co-located, and “embodied” navigation system of an oral archive with Colombian women’s testimonies of conflict and migration;
  • RESPIRO, a live, telematic transmission of breathing signals, which are locally sonified in each location;

In the first stage of the project the research participants tested the system in an INTIMAL Long Distance Improvisation (a telematic sonic performance), between the cities of London, Oslo, and Barcelona, on May 7, 2019. INTIMAL proved to be a catalyst for creating processes of collective remembering and catharsis, within the context of Colombian post-conflict and peacebuilding.