ARTIST

MRI X UCL X INSIDE THE MIND OF AN EXPERT

Technology: MRI 
Press :  National Geographic, BBC NEWS,
Commissioned: Fashion Space Gallery
Image credits: IOWEYOUTH

Since 2012 I have been the lead subject in a neuroscientific study by
Professor Sophie Scott Deputy Director of the Institute of
Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London.
Much psychological research focuses on negative emotions, in order to
shed light on mental illness and dysfunctional cognitions and
behaviours, but Scott studies more uplifting phenomena like music,
speech and laughter. Results from an MRI scan identified my beatbox
specialism as exhibiting the same expert behaviour and fluidity as
speech generation, as well as that harboured by advanced music
practitioners. Concurrently, the study signifies its capacity within non-
verbal communication.

Scott is most interested in speech patterns and recognition. She believes
the voice is a musical instrument -- and we have been using it incorrectly:
"When I started studying the voice, I thought I was dealing with
language. But actually, I was dealing with music. When we speak, it's
music. We are taught that we make one sound and shape it with our
mouth and tongue, but beatboxers can simultaneously make sounds at
their lips, their larynx and perform nasal harmonics at the back of their
noses, and can independently vary those pitches. According to traditional
phonetics, it's impossible -- but it's not. We are nowhere near starting to
approach the complexity of what we can do with our voices. When I hear
beatboxing I hear ambition and skill and creativity and delight and hope.
Our voice is our first, fully-fledged musical instrument. And I am not
exaggerating when I say working with Reeps One has made me totally
rethink the way we think about speech”. Professor Sophie Scott - UCL