Counterfactuals, with Tyler Coburn


A workshop led by Tyler Coburn, with Diogo Cruz, Rene Franco, Brittni Harvey, Erin Johnson, Ting Lau, Daniel Lichtman, Alex Kim, Kristina Schmidt, Sixing Xu, and Siqi Zhu.

Over five Sundays in the summer of 2020, eleven people assembled to play out counterfactual scenarios. The prompts, provided by participants, made us reexamine and revise histories sweeping and specific. What if high-speed Internet had never developed? New York was bailed out in the 1970s? Al Franken's resignation unfolded differently? Tea had never been discovered? 

Shown here is the last game played by Tyler Coburn, Brittni Harvey, and Alex Kim on Miro, a collaborative online whiteboard. Brittni wanted to imagine the integration of artists into the military following the success of the "Ghost Army" in WWII. Though provisional in form, this game led us to transform an art school into a feeder for the military—and to consider whether an avant-garde, steeped in conservative ideology, could have emerged in response to the student and antiwar movements.


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