Creativity, we are told, is a process. Have you reached a point in your project where you just don’t know what comes next? I’ve known people who consult the I-Ching, others who randomly turn to a page of a book of poems by their favourite poet for inspiration. Some who consult large books of writing cues. Though I confess I didn’t know anything about Oblique Strategies before this morning.
Oblique Strategies is basically a deck of cards that… well, perhaps I should let a far more knowledgable person (in the form of Gregory Taylor) explain. From A Primer On Oblique Strategizing:
The deck itself had its origins in the discovery by Brian Eno that both he and his friend Peter Schmidt […] tended to keep a set of basic working principles which guided them through the kinds of moments of pressure – either working through a heavy painting session or watching the clock tick while you’re running up a big buck studio bill. Both Schmidt and Eno realized that the pressures of time tended to steer them away from the ways of thinking they found most productive when the pressure was off. The Strategies were, then, a way to remind themselves of those habits of thinking – to jog the mind.
Brian Eno curated Luminous in Sydney earlier this year and while I regret having been unable to attend, the media interviews he did to promote the event have been a fascinating insight into the man himself, creativity in general and (among other things) visual arts and ambient music in particular.
Here Eno discusses Oblique Strategies (and his decision not to reform with Roxy Music) with Jools Holland:
You can purchase Oblique Strategies from the Brian Eno Official Store or learn more about them at the Oblique Strategies website. Oh and just in case my family are reading this… I’m sure the strategies would make a perfect Christmas present for the creative person in your life!