“Argot Ogre, OK!” by Andrew Plotkin

Argot Ogre, OK!” by Andrew Plotkin

This work is the meta remix of “Taroko Gorge.” It generates executable “Taroko Gorge” code that in turn generates small windows inside of which alternative stanza structures for Taroko Gorge and 6 of its preceding remixes: Tokyo Garage, Gorge, Toy Garbage, Yoko Engorged, Takei George, Alone Engaged, and Fred & George. As Plotkin describes in the source code:

Nick’s original poem generates a constant ABBA-C pattern, with some extra B’s thrown in. This page essentially invents a new pattern (for example A-, or BC-BA, or CCC, or so on) for each block. The code for the pattern is on the left, and the generated output is on the right.

This is a provocative analytical tool, because by varying the stanza patterns, it lays bare some of Nick Montfort’s choices when he wrote the engine, and reimagines other patterns that he might have explored before making a choice. It also allows us to explore the textures of the remixes in different stanza patterns, wondering whether they are better suited for other structures.

In addition of “mutating” the stanza patterns (and background colors) for the poems, Plotkin creates mashups of different remixes, playfully engaging the tradition by cross pollinating the generated texts. The mashups are surprisingly humorous in their non sequitur combinations.

Whatever you do, don’t miss out on reading the source code (right click—> view source), inside of which a quote from Nick Montfort and Flourish Klink provides a neat insightful tidbit on a portion of the code.

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