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Random War

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    United States of America (probably, made)
    London (printed)

  • Date:

    1967 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Csuri, Charles , born 1922 (artist)
    Shaffer, James (computer programmers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithograph mounted on board

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Computer Arts Society, supported by System Simulation Ltd, London

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case 3H, shelf 24

This is one of a set of seven lithographs by different artists, published by Motif Editions in connection with Cybernetic Serendipity, a major exhibition held at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1968. The portfolio includes two works by the Computer Technique Group, plus single works by Charles Csuri and James Shaffer, William Fetter, Maughan S. Mason, Donald K. Robbins, and Kerry Strand. The complete set was acquired by the Museum in 1969, at a cost of £5.

Csuri's image of iconic American toy soldiers is based on a larger artwork that also included a computer-generated list of soldiers' names. At random, the program decided who would be killed, wounded, missing or commended in battle. The original work was produced in 1967, when anti-Vietnam war sentiment was at its height.

This copy of Random War was donated to the Museum by the Computer Arts Society. Some of the society's founding members had been involved in the Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition.

Physical description

Lithograph in black and red ink on paper, mounted on board.

Place of Origin

United States of America (probably, made)
London (printed)


1967 (made)


Csuri, Charles , born 1922 (artist)
Shaffer, James (computer programmers)

Materials and Techniques

Lithograph mounted on board

Marks and inscriptions

'Random War 1967' by C. Csuri and J. Shaffer (Ohio State University). Computer Graphic from I.C.A. Exhibition Cybernetic Serendipity. Published by Motif Editions ©, 58 Frith Street, London W1.'
Text in lower left side.


Height: 49.7 cm, Width: 71.6 cm

Descriptive line

Lithograph, 'Random War', 1967, by Charles Csuri and James Shaffer.


Printing ink; Mounting board


Lithography; Computerized composition

Subjects depicted

Toy soldiers




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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