Oblique strategies is a set of cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt used to break deadlocks in creative situations.
Each card contains a (sometimes cryptic) remark that can help you resolve a creative dilemma.
Whenever you're stuck you draw a card and ponder how it applies to your situation. You may draw as many cards as you wish.
This website is an online version of the deck, containing many cards from the printed editions.
For more information see Oblique Strategies on WikipediaClose
A line has two sides
A very small object -Its centre
Abandon normal instructions
Allow an easement (an easement is the abandonment of a stricture)
Always first steps
Always give yourself credit for having more than personality
Always the first steps
Are there sections? Consider transitions
Ask people to work against their better judgement
Ask your body
Assemble some of the elements in a group and treat the group
Back up a few steps. What else could you have done?
Balance the consistency principle with the inconsistency principle
Be less critical more often
Breathe more deeply
Bridges -build -burn
Call your mother and ask her what to do.
Change ambiguities to specifics
Change instrument roles
Change nothing and continue with immaculate consistency
Change specifics to ambiguities
Children's voices -speaking -singing
Consider different fading systems
Consult other sources -promising -unpromising
Convert a melodic element into a rhythmic element
Cut a vital connection
Define an area as `safe' and use it as an anchor
Describe the landscape in which this belongs. (9 August)
Destroy nothing; Destroy the most important thing
Discard an axiom
Disconnect from desire
Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them
Discover your formulas and abandon them
Display your talent
Do nothing for as long as possible
Do something boring
Do something sudden, destructive and unpredictable
Do the last thing first
Do the washing up
Do the words need changing?
Do we need holes?
Don't avoid what is easy
Don't be afraid of things because they're easy to do
Don't be frightened of cliches
Don't be frightened to display your talents
Don't break the silence
Don't stress one thing more than another
Emphasize the flaws
Faced with a choice, do both
Feed the recording back out of the medium
Feedback recordings into an acoustic situation
Fill every beat with something
Find a safe part and use it as an anchor
First work alone, then work in unusual pairs.
From nothing to more than nothing
Get your neck massaged
Give the game away
Give way to your worst impulse
Go outside. Shut the door.
Go slowly all the way round the outside
Go to an extreme, move back to a more comfortable place
How would someone else do it?
How would you explain this to your parents?
How would you have done it?
Humanize something that is free of error.
Idiot glee (?)
Imagine the music as a moving chain or caterpillar
Imagine the music as a series of disconnected events
In total darkness, or in a very large room, very quietly
Instead of changing the thing, change the world around it.
Intentions -credibility of -nobility of -humility of
Into the impossible
Is it finished?
Is something missing?
Is the intonation correct?
Is the style right?
Is the tuning appropriate?
Is the tuning intonation correct?
Is there something missing?
It is quite possible (after all)
It is simply a matter or work
Just carry on
Left channel, right channel, centre channel
List the qualities it has. List those you'd like.
Listen in total darkness, or in a very large room, very quietly
Listen to the quiet voice
Look at a very small object, look at its centre
Look at the order in which you do things
Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify.
Lost in useless territory
Lowest common denominator check -single beat -single note -single riff
Magnify the most difficult details
Make a blank valuable by putting it in an excquisite frame
Make a sudden, destructive unpredictable action; incorporate
Make an exhaustive list of everything you might do and do the last thing on the list
Make it more sensual
Make what's perfect more human
Mechanize something idiosyncratic
Move towards the unimportant
Mute and continue
Not building a wall but making a brick
Once the search has begun, something will be found
Only a part, not the whole
Only one element of each kind
Overtly resist change
Pae White's non-blank graphic metacard
Pay attention to distractions
Picture of a man spotlighted
Put in earplugs
Question the heroic approach
Remember those quiet evenings
Remove a restriction
Remove ambiguities and convert to specifics
Remove specifics and convert to ambiguities
Remove the middle, extend the edges
Repetition is a form of change
Retrace your steps
Revaluation (a warm feeling)
Short circuit (example; a man eating peas with the idea that they will improve his virility shovels them straight into his lap)
Shut the door and listen from outside
Simply a matter of work
Slow preparation, fast execution
State the problem in words as simply as possible
Steal a solution.
Take a break
Take away as much mystery as possible. What is left?
Take away the elements in order of apparent non-importance
Take away the important parts
Tape your mouth
The inconsistency principle
The most important thing is the thing most easily forgotten
The tape is now the music
Think - inside the work -outside the work
Think of the radio
Towards the insignificant
Trust in the you of now
Try faking it
Turn it upside down
Twist the spine
Use "unqualified" people.
Use an old idea
Use an unacceptable color
Use fewer notes
Use something nearby as a model
Use your own ideas
Voice your suspicions
What are the sections sections of? Imagine a caterpillar moving
What context would look right?
What do you do? Now, what do you do best?
What else is this like?
What is the reality of the situation?
What is the simplest solution?
What mistakes did you make last time?
What most recently impressed you? How is it similar? What can you learn from it? What could you take from it?
What to increase? What to reduce? What to maintain?
What were the branch points in the evolution of this entity
What were you really thinking about just now? Incorporate
What would make this really successful?
What would your closest friend do?
What wouldn't you do?
When is it for? Who is it for?
Where is the edge?
Which parts can be grouped?
Who would make this really successful?
Work at a different speed
Would anyone want it?
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
Your mistake was a hidden intention