Oblique Strategies subtitled Over One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmas is a card-based method for promoting creativity jointly created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt , first published in Physically, it takes the form of a deck of 7-bycentimetre 2. In , Peter Schmidt created "The Thoughts Behind the Thoughts",  a box containing 55 sentences letterpress printed onto disused prints that accumulated in his studio, which is still in Eno's possession. Eno, who had known Schmidt since the late s, had been pursuing a similar project himself, which he had handwritten onto a number of bamboo cards and given the name "Oblique Strategies" in There was a significant overlap between the two projects, and so, in late , Schmidt and Eno combined them into a single pack of cards and offered them for general sale.
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John Cage … made a choice at a certain point: he chose not to interfere with the music content anymore. But the approach I have chosen was different from his. This is a fundamental difference between Cage and me. Though the failed works might be interesting too, they are not works that you would choose to share with other people or publish. Eno and Schmidt created a series of art instructions — an underappreciated art genre unto itself — titled Oblique Strategies.
The project consisted of a set of white cards with simple black text in a deck subtitled Over One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmas. Though a conceptual art project, the cards were essentially a practical tool for generating ideas, breaking through creative block, and breaking free of stale thought patterns.
Art schools manage to balance themselves on the fence between telling you what to do step by step, and leaving you free to do what you want. Their orientation is basically towards the production of specialists, and towards the provision of ambitions, of goals, and identities. The assumption of the correct identity — painter, sculptor — fattens you up for the market.
The identity becomes a straightjacket; it becomes progressively more dangerous to step outside of it. This triple triangulation will quickly be seen as insufficient, however, since those based on Asian and Middle Eastern cultures will also be required. Soon it would become apparent that a precise or consistent location cannot be determined, except by the abandonment of triangulation in favor of a dynamic network model.
Here we would need to adopt second-order cybernetics, the recognition that attempting to measure cultural location is relative, viewer dependent, unstable, shifting, and open-ended. This conclusion reminds me that Brian was the first of my students to understand that cybernetics is philosophy, and that philosophy is cybernetics. Amidst a cultural landscape where the creative self is necessarily divided , Eno has consistently conquered a wide array of creative and intellectual fields while at the same time mastering the art of integration.
Ascott puts it beautifully:. This demands knowing not only where to place him in the spectrum of roles across philosophy, visual arts, performance, music, social and cultural commentary, and activism, but in terms of personae, or as we say now, avatars.
Throughout his career, not only has Eno explored identity, he has provided the context, employing light, sound, space, and color, in which each participant can playfully and passionately share in the breaching of the boundaries of the Self.
Brian Eno: Visual Music is beautiful and compelling in its entirety. Brain Pickings participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon.
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Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies for Tangential Thinking
John Cage … made a choice at a certain point: he chose not to interfere with the music content anymore. But the approach I have chosen was different from his. This is a fundamental difference between Cage and me. Though the failed works might be interesting too, they are not works that you would choose to share with other people or publish. Eno and Schmidt created a series of art instructions — an underappreciated art genre unto itself — titled Oblique Strategies. The project consisted of a set of white cards with simple black text in a deck subtitled Over One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmas.
Hey, what's that sound: Oblique Strategies
You can now do that digitally, of course, but Oblique Strategies remains an essentially physical experience, one whose shuffling and drawing reminds the user that they're drawing from the well of chance for a way to break them through a creative impasse or just rethink part of a project. It also began as thoroughly a physical experience, invented by producer-artist-ambient musician Brian Eno and painter Peter Schmidt, who first came up with them in the pre-digital days of Back then, writes Dangerous Minds' Martin Schneider , the concept for Eno and Schmidt's "set of cards with elliptical imperatives designed to spark in the user creative connections unobtainable through regular modes of work" emerged as a form of "radical intervention with roots in Eastern philosophy. Having first come on the market in the s, Oblique Strategies has gone through several different production runs, usually packaged in handsome boxes with the deck's name emblazoned in gold. In a limited 6th edition of numbered sets were available but quickly sold out. But it seems that the very first set of Oblique Strategies, featured in Schneider's post, is unavailable at any price.