How do we talk about the body? To find out how physicality permeates
cultural discourse, we compiled a set of songs, poems and religious texts
that reference the body.
Using images of the body as pictograms, Listen
offers a fresh look at
vocabulary use, ranging from the popular to the erudite.
Based on a compilation of more than 10,000 songs, the piece visualizes the use
of words representing body parts in popular culture. Each musical genre
exhibits its own characteristic set of words, with more frequently used terms
showing up as bigger images. The entrance image shows how many times different body
parts are mentioned; the charts for each genre go into more detail, showing the usage
of different synonyms for each part.
Focusing on words that relate to the body, this piece reduces all other
terms in a text to gray dots. By keeping the overall shape of the text
intactline breaks are respectedand displaying longer words as larger dots,
the viewer is presented with a telegraphic picture of physicality in written
Check out our rebus glossary
. Images depict the parts of the body, with racier terms represented by racier images.
Some body words have multiple meanings. For example, the word back tends to be used
more as an adverb and adjective than as a body part. In cases like this, we
do not treat the term as a body part; it shows up on the rebus as a gray
dot. In addition, we only analyze parts of the body visible to the eye, so words such
as "heart" or "blood" are not counted.