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Oblique Strategies – A Deck of Cards to Shake You Up

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Oblique Strategies is a deck of printed cards in a black box, created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt and first published in 1975. Each card offers an aphorism intended to help artists break creative blocks.

http://www.rtqe.net/ObliqueStrategies/OSintro.html

You can buy them here for £30 – http://enoshop.co.uk/shop/oblique/

Or, of course the FREE iPhone App – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/oblique-strategies-cards/id495669106?mt=8

Or here is a list of the Complete Fourth Edition:

  • Abandon desire
  • Abandon normal instructions
  • Accept advice
  • Adding on
  • A line has two sides
  • Always the first steps
  • Ask people to work against their better judgement
  • Ask your body
  • Be dirty
  • Be extravagant
  • Be less critical
  • Breathe more deeply
  • Bridges -build -burn
  • Change ambiguities to specifics
  • Change nothing and continue consistently
  • Change specifics to ambiguities
  • Consider transitions
  • Courage!
  • Cut a vital connection
  • Decorate, decorate
  • Destroy nothing; Destroy the most important thing
  • Discard an axiom
  • Disciplined self-indulgence
  • Discover your formulas and abandon them
  • Display your talent
  • Distort time
  • Do nothing for as long as possible
  • Don’t avoid what is easy
  • Don’t break the silence
  • Don’t stress one thing more than another
  • Do something boring
  • Do something sudden, destructive and unpredictable
  • Do the last thing first
  • Do the words need changing?
  • Emphasize differences
  • Emphasize the flaws
  • Faced with a choice, do both (from Dieter Rot)
  • Find a safe part and use it as an anchor
  • Give the game away
  • Give way to your worst impulse
  • Go outside. Shut the door.
  • Go to an extreme, come part way back
  • How would someone else do it?
  • How would you have done it?
  • In total darkness, or in a very large room, very quietly
  • Is it finished?
  • Is something missing?
  • Is the style right?
  • It is simply a matter or work
  • Just carry on
  • Listen to the quiet voice
  • Look at the order in which you do things
  • Magnify the most difficult details
  • Make it more sensual
  • Make what’s perfect more human
  • Move towards the unimportant
  • Not building a wall; making a brick
  • Once the search has begun, something will be found
  • Only a part, not the whole
  • Only one element of each kind
  • Openly resist change
  • Pae White’s non-blank graphic metacard
  • Question the heroic
  • Remember quiet evenings
  • Remove a restriction
  • Repetition is a form of change
  • Retrace your steps
  • Reverse
  • Simple Subtraction
  • Slow preparation, fast execution
  • State the problem as clearly as possible
  • Take a break
  • Take away the important parts
  • The inconsistency principle
  • The most easily forgotten thing is the most important
  • Think – inside the work -outside the work
  • Tidy up
  • Try faking it (from Stewart Brand)
  • Turn it upside down
  • Use an old idea
  • Use cliches
  • Use filters
  • Use something nearby as a model
  • Use ‘unqualified’ people
  • Use your own ideas
  • Voice your suspicions
  • Water
  • What context would look right?
  • What is the simplest solution?
  • What mistakes did you make last time?
  • What to increase? What to reduce? What to maintain?
  • What were you really thinking about just now?
  • What wouldn’t you do?
  • What would your closest friend do?
  • When is it for?
  • Where is the edge?
  • Which parts can be grouped?
  • Work at a different speed
  • Would anyone want it?
  • Your mistake was a hidden intention
  • Use fewer notes
  • Use filters
  • Use ‘unqualified’ people
  • Water
  • What are you really thinking about just now? Incorporate
  • What is the reality of the situation?
  • What mistakes did you make last time?
  • What would your closest friend do?
  • What wouldn’t you do?
  • Work at a different speed
  • You are an engineer
  • You can only make one dot at a time
  • You don’t have to be ashamed of using your own ideas