Oblique Strategies

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Reading across an entry from Brian Eno's diary referencing Oblique Strategies "Don't be afraid to use your own ideas"... Kind of sounds like naive optimism, though the actual exercise is actually pretty thought provoking. The methodology seems to be geared towards musicians, but it definitely has the same brainstorm use outside the music framework.

Oblique Strategies is a deck of cards, about 7×9 cm in size, supplied in a small black box labelled “OBLIQUE STRATEGIES”. The cards themselves are black on one side, white on the other, and have obscure, cryptic aphorisms printed on the front in small letters.
They are intended as a creative tool for musicians and were developed by legendary producer Brian Eno and artist Peter Schmidt - the pair originally both came up with the same idea independently in 1975, and joined forces to make it a reality. Eno’s own description explains the idea very well:

“The Oblique Strategies evolved from me being in a number of working situations when the panic of the situation – particularly in studios – tended to make me quickly forget that there were others ways of working and that there were tangential ways of attacking problems that were in many senses more interesting than the direct head-on approach. If you’re in a panic, you tend to take the head-on approach because it seems to be the one that’s going to yield the best results Of course, that often isn’t the case – it’s just the most obvious and – apparently – reliable method. The function of the Oblique Strategies was, initially, to serve as a series of prompts which said, “Don’t forget that you could adopt *this* attitude,” or “Don’t forget you could adopt *that* attitude.”