Inspirefest snapshot: Get set for a beatbox clash between human and AI

31 May 2018

Reeps One in Hong Kong. Image: Elisa MacDougall

Inspirefest 2018 is to play host to the real battle of human versus machine as artist and composer Reeps One takes on a beatboxing AI version of himself.

Anyone who attended last year’s Inspirefest would have been mesmerised by Nokia Bell Labs’ Domhnaill Hernon teaming up with Other Voices founder Philip King to use the latest technology to turn movement on stage into sound.

For Inspirefest 2018, Nokia Bell Labs is returning to offer something entirely different, with the intention of bringing technology and art to another level.

The focus of the show will be Reeps One, a composer, vocalist and Experiments in Arts and Technology (EAT) artist who just happens to be a grandmaster beatboxer.

The London-born musician and artist has been obsessively experimenting with innovative vocal practices alongside the creative representation of physics and sound since the age of 18, and will now be performing a world-first duet with his digital beatboxing artificially intelligent (AI) twin.

In the name of science

When not touring festivals and events across the world, Reeps One is gathering a massive online following, garnering more than 50m views on various video platforms.

Furthermore, Reeps One is pushing boundaries when it comes to academic research, with a residency at none other than Harvard University. He was also the subject of a study of expert behaviour at the University of College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Marking another milestone, it was the first neurological investigation of its kind to utilise voice as a medium.

As if he wasn’t busy enough already, Reeps One also conceived and delivered a hugely successful project called Polyphonic Playground, consisting of a large-scale playground structure filled with electric paint circuitry and instrumental trigger pads.

What he will do with his AI twin remains a tightly guarded secret, but it will no doubt be a visual and audible display like no other.

For inspiration from extraordinary thinkers, catch Reeps One and more at Inspirefest in Dublin on 21 and 22 June. Get your tickets now.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic