Oblique Strategies ( subtitle Over One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmas ) is a card-based method for promoting creativity jointly created by musician/artist Brian Eno and multimedia artist Peter Schmidt, first published in 1975. physically, it takes the form of a deck of 7-by-9-centimetre ( 2.8 in × 3.5 in ) printed cards in a black box. [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] Each tease offers a challenge constraint intended to help artists ( particularly musicians ) break creative blocks by encouraging lateral think .
origin and history [edit ]
In 1970, Peter Schmidt created “ The Thoughts Behind the Thoughts ”, [ 4 ] a box containing 55 sentences relief printing printed onto disused prints that accumulated in his studio, which is hush in Eno ‘s self-control. Eno, who had known Schmidt since the late 1960s, had been pursuing a like project himself, which he had handwritten onto a number of bamboo cards and given the name “ Oblique Strategies ” in 1974. There was a meaning overlap between the two projects, and therefore, in late 1974, Schmidt and Eno combined them into a individual throng of cards and offered them for cosmopolitan sale. The plant went through three circumscribed edition printings before Schmidt suddenly died in early 1980, after which the card decks became rather rare and expensive. Sixteen years late software pioneer Peter Norton convinced Eno to let him create a fourth edition as Christmas gifts for his friends ( not for sale, although they occasionally come up at auction ). Eno ‘s decision to revisit the cards and his collaboration with Norton in revising them is described in contingent in his 1996 book A Year with Swollen Appendices. With populace sake in the cards undiminished, in 2001 Eno once again produced a new set of Oblique Strategies cards. The total and content of the cards vary according to the edition. In May 2013 a circumscribed version of 500 boxes, in burgundy rather than black, was issued. The floor of Oblique Strategies, along with the message of all the cards, exhaustive history and comment, is documented in a web site widely acknowledged as the authoritative source and put together by musician and educator Gregory Alan Taylor. [ 5 ]
Reading: Oblique Strategies – Wikipedia
The text of Schmidt ‘s “ The Thoughts Behind the Thoughts ” was published by Mindmade Books in 2012 .
design and function [edit ]
Each card contains a gnomic suggestion, aphorism or remark which can be used to break a deadlock or dilemma situation. A few are specific to music composition ; others are more general. For exemplar :
- Use an old idea.
- State the problem in words as clearly as possible.
- Only one element of each kind.
- What would your closest friend do?
- What to increase? What to reduce?
- Are there sections? Consider transitions.
- Try faking it!
- Honour thy error as a hidden intention.
- Ask your body.
- Work at a different speed.
From the insertion to the 2001 edition :
These cards evolved from separate observations of the principles underlying what we were doing. sometimes they were recognised in retrospect ( reason catching up with intuition ), sometimes they were identified as they were happening, sometimes they were formulated. They can be used as a pack, or by drawing a individual card from the shuffled pack when a dilemma occurs in a working situation. In this case the card is trusted even if its appropriateness is quite ill-defined …
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cultural impact [edit ]
References to Oblique Strategies exist in popular acculturation, notably in the film Slacker, [ 6 ] in which a character offers passerby cards from a deck. Strategies mentioned include “ Honor thy error as a hide intention ”, “ Look closely at the most obstruct details and magnify ”, “ not building a wall ; making a brick ”, “ repeat is a class of change ”, and one which came to be seen as a summary of the film ‘s ethos ( though it was not part of the official laid of Oblique Strategies ), “ Withdrawing in disgust is not the lapp thing as apathy. ” This line was quoted in the 1994 sung “ What ‘s the Frequency, Kenneth ? “ by R.E.M., who besides mentioned Oblique Strategies in their 1998 song “ Diminished ” from the album Up. The Oblique Strategies are besides referenced in comic 1018, “ devious Angles ”, [ 7 ] of popular web comedian Questionable Content. early musicians inspired by Oblique Strategies include the british band Coldplay, said to have used the cards when recording their 2008 Brian Eno -produced album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends and french band Phoenix, who used the cards when recording their 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. [ 8 ] German musician/composer Blixa Bargeld has a similar seafaring arrangement, called Dave. In reply to their birdcall “ Brian Eno ”, from their album Congratulations, MGMT has said they had a deck of Oblique Strategies in the studio, but they “ do n’t know if [ they ] used them correctly. ” They were most famously used by Eno during the recording of David Bowie ‘s Berlin triptych of albums ( Low, “Heroes”, Lodger ). Stories suggest they were used during the record of instrumentals on “Heroes” such as “ Sense of Doubt “ and were used more extensively on Lodger ( “ Fantastic Voyage “, “ Boys Keep Swinging “, “ red Money ” ). They were used again on Bowie ‘s 1995 album Outside, which Eno was involved with as a writer, producer and musician. Carlos Alomar, who worked with Eno and Bowie on all these albums, was a sports fan of using the cards, late saying “ at the Center for Performing Arts at the Stevens Institute of Technology, where I teach, on the wall are Brian Eno ’ s Oblique Strategies cards. And when my students get a mental blocking, I immediately direct them to that wall. ” [ 9 ]
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The Oblique Strategies cards deck is featured in italian comics artist Igort ‘s knead Japanese Notebooks: A Journey to the Empire of Signs ( Chronicle Books, 2017 ; original italian version : Quaderni giapponesi. Un viaggio nell’impero dei segni, Cononino Press, 2015 ) .