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Oblique Strategies

Oblique Strategies

When faced with creative block, looking for inspiration, or just a humorous distraction, I've been drawing ideas from a deck of Oblique Strategies cards. They were created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt and first made available in 1975. In their present, sixth, edition they comprise 113 black backed cards housed in a black box.

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The idea is that you take a card, turn it over, and the, often, abstruse sentence on the card encourages lateral thinking and, hopefully, clears creative block. In my experience, the card will give you an idea on how to proceed, confirm that the path you have chosen makes sense, release the tension during a collaboration, or just raise a smile. And sometimes, when you're stuck, a smile can be enough to remind you that whatever you're concentrating on is important but that perhaps you could employ an alternative perspective.

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They've been used by many of Eno's collaborators and there are a number of look-alike cards, apps, and websites that purport to elicit a similar effect, however, I like the original cards. I like turning the card I've chosen over in my hand and considering what I'm looking for, letting my body let me know what I need.

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Jim Burns

Jim Burns

jim@intervalstudio.com