This project attempts to recreate the paradox of a book that is a garden which Jorge Luis Borges explores in “The Garden of Forking Paths.” Just like T’sui Penn in the short story, I attempted to create a book in the form of a self-generative text that could be experienced by the user like a garden that itself could be experienced like a labyrinth. I created a program—a digital iteration of a story written in natural language that creates another world or realm of experience—that acts like a garden that seems and feels material, not in space but in time since this digitally generated garden as it is a product of text and time, a garden through which the user travels only to find herself confused in a pointless journey through time. I say through time because although the screen of the computer where the garden is rendered is like the physically material, the three-dimensional design of the graphics gives only the illusion of a material space. Every time the user travels, the user stays in the same place and the graphics on the screen are rerendered to maintain the illusion, the user then travels through time as the illusion of material space is maintained.
To build a garden made of text in “A Garden” I started by analyzing the short story according to parts of speech using a Natural Language Processing library. I separated the words into arrays for each part of speech and then, using a couple of simple sentence structures, built a system that recombined the words to generate new sentences. In Unity3D, a cross-platform game engine, I generated a labyrinth of concentric circles where every path forked providing the first-person user with two choices.