Random War by Charles Csuri and James Shaffer

1967 in United States and London
Motif Editions
Charles Csuri
James Shaffer

'Random War' lithograph by Charles Csuri and James Shaffer in the USA, 1967, published in London by Motif Editions. The landscape composition features a scattered composition of toy soldiers with guns, in black and red, larger at the bottom grading to smaller at the top.

From a set of seven lithographs by different artists published to accompany the exhibition Cybernetic Serendipity at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London in 1968. Motif editions produced the set to sell to visitors at the ICA, and when the exhibition toured to the USA. It was intended to highlight some of the most interesting and iconic paper-based works in the show. The portfolio of lithographs includes works by the Computer Technique Group, Charles Csuri and James Shaffer, William Fetter, Maughan S. Mason, Donald K. Robbins and Kerry Strand. The artists used various systems and technologies to produce them, often relying on large-scale military equipment.

Cybernetic Serendipity, curated by Jasia Reichardt, was a seminal moment in the history of computer-generated art. It was the first international exhibition in the UK devoted to the relationship between the arts and new technology, featuring over 130 participants including composers, engineers, artists, mathematicians and poets.

Its aim was to present an area of activity which manifested artists' involvement with science, and scientists' involvement with the arts; particularly the links between the random systems employed by artists, composers and poets, and those involved with the making and use of cybernetic devices. It attracted national and international attention, and over 60,000 visitors at the ICA. Some participants in Cybernetic Serendipity went on to found the Computer Art Society later in 1968, which still brings together computer artists in the UK.


Object Number:
paper (fibre product) and ink
overall: 506 mm x 754 mm
overall (lithogragh only): 510 mm x 750 mm