Taroko Gorge – January 18, 2019

“Taroko Gorge” is a fascinating form of writing that is generated randomly from a bank of words. It may have a deep meaning, or it may have no meaning at all. Perhaps it was done for the sake of doing it, but, much like any form of writing, the great thing is that a meaning can always be found within. For the original piece, for example, the elegant word bank that exists portrays beautiful images of nature with words like “hum”, “crags”, “ripplings”, and “pace”, that can evoke calming, wondrous images. Alternatively, a piece like “Hey Gorgeous” follows a narrative of word banks that describe the story of people at a club. The beauty of this digital art is that no matter what environment is inserted into the code, it seems as if the emotion of that environment is present throughout the piece.

Although there is no true narrative due to its randomness, this technique gives these pieces of writing a feeling as if they are snapshots of what is occurring in the world of the story. It is as if each line of code is equivalent to a person within this world blinking.

The code feels oddly akin to how a program like Twine functions, jumping around from bubble to bubble, creating a sense of controlled chaos. In the words of Scott Rettberg, it is “calm, almost zen-like poetry.” Zen-like can even mean unsettling, however. “The Dark Side of the Wall” generates lines of lyrics from the band Pink Floyd, taking the often dissonant feeling of the band’s lyrics and continuing it via technology. It can be argued that this is not true writing, but this does not seem to be what Taroko Gorge and its varations are trying to accomplish. What it is trying to accomplish is shared with writing, however. It makes its reader think.