Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oblique Strategies

Today, 8am. Photograph by Tim Irving
Today, 8am - Tim Irving
Yesterday's weather forecast promised snow, I woke up to mist! If I cared I would go crazy. All my photographs look like Christmas cards, so it's time to stop trying and do something else.

Coming up with new ideas is difficult, but I'm not happy if I continue to plough the same field even it it's making money. I know of several techniques to change track, one worth mentioning that I've used with some success is Oblique Strategies. It sometimes comes up trumps.

Oblique Strategies is a set of cards (subtitled over one hundred worthwhile dilemmas). They were created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt during the seventies. The cards are mostly used by musicians to generate new ideas, to break free of cliches. I can assure you that Phil Collins has never used Oblique Strategies, but David Bowie, David Byrne and Bryan Ferry are adepts. It's a bit like I Ching for musicians. Thinking about it, I Ching would be very useful too!

I have an original pack of Oblique Strategies, but there's an on-line version with same dilemmas that you can try here. Just pick a random card and think about it, within the context of your work. If it doesn't work, pick another card. If it does work, let me know.

1 comment:

  1. Oooo. Sounds good. I've not heard of Oblique Strategies, but the concept is right up my alley. (I once made something along those lines for an artist friend who didn't know what to do when she found unexpected pockets of free time. She would get overwhelmed with the choices and freeze. I came up with the idea of an unusual jar full of packaged notes, each a suggested activity. So when she had spare time she grabbed a note and did whatever it said. We called it the Destiny Jar.)

    Nice photo. An empty place that was built to be full always compels me to pause.



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