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Topic: The Oblique Strategies  (Read 5330 times)
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Steph
« on: May 29, 2004 10:28:59 PM »

I discovered Brian Eno about two years ago through a Lester Bangs interview and have been a big Eno fan ever since.  Shortly thereafter, I became fascinated by the Oblique Strategies, which is a deck of simple cards with enigmatic prompts on them like "Water" and "Shortcut: A man trying to increase his virility by shoveling peas straight into his lap."  I made my own deck by cutting up sheets of cardstock and writing out all of the strategies by hand.  It was fun and I still use that deck.

Last November, it struck me that homemade Oblique Strategies decks would make wonderful Christmas gifts for four very dear friends I met over the past year.  At first, I was going to do all four decks by hand but that soon became impractical in light of the Christmas deadline and upcoming finals.  Instead, I made a word document, culled the 120 best cards from all editions of the deck, and formatted it for easy cutting.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the printed decks.  However, I uploaded the document file I used.  It is in an unusual font so it may not show up well on many computers.  http://home.ripway.com/2004-1/50863/ObliqueStrategies4.doc

Pretty cards were only half of the work.  The decks had to have equally elegant boxes to go in.  After finals, I finally made a trip to Micheals and got four little trinket boxes, primer and glossy black spray paint.  While I was doing the actual painting, I covered the metal parts with rubber cement.  In hindsight, that just made things more difficult and I shouldn't have bothered with covering them because they would have come out fine anyway.  And here is a finished box.



The boxes made it to their destinations in time to still be considered New Years gifts.
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Almost Famous
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2004 10:46:56 PM »

Oblique Strategies are mentioned in one of my favorite movies, Slacker. Your set is very cool, thanks for sharing! Grin
« Last Edit: May 29, 2004 10:48:29 PM by Almost Famous » THIS ROCKS   Logged
AmyA
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2004 10:58:45 AM »

That box is so shiny.  How did you make it?
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Steph
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2004 11:55:30 AM »








Ok.  I got more pictures.  The white deck is from the handmade decks I was going to send out and gave up on.  The blue deck is the one I made for myself.  What's nice about handwriting the deck is that you can arrange the phrases all over the card in different formations.  Give you a little more flexibility, but it is more time consuming.  What's nice about printing them out is that it looks much cleaner and neater and all you have to do is cut them out, but you don't get the same touch.
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aphrodiatea
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2004 11:57:27 AM »

What are the Oblique Strategies?
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Steph
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2004 12:03:42 PM »

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

^This website will tell you everything you could want to know about the Oblique Strategies. 
"The Oblique Strategies are a deck of cards. Up until 1996, they were quite easy to describe. They measured about 2-3/4" x 3-3/4". They came in a small black box which said "OBLIQUE STRATEGIES" on one of the top's long sides and "BRIAN ENO/PETER SCHMIDT" on the other side. The cards were solid black on one side, and had the aphorisms printed in a 10-point sans serif face on the other.

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."

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AmyA
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2004 07:16:10 PM »

Quote
While I was doing the actual painting, I covered the metal parts with rubber cement.  In hindsight, that just made things more difficult and I shouldn't have bothered with covering them because they would have come out fine anyway.  And here is a finished box.

What brand of spray paint did you use?
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Steph
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2004 09:20:46 PM »

Gray Plasti-kote sandable primer and Rustoleum glossy black.
I did it in a parking garage and was messed up from the fumes for several hours. Embarrassed
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ForevrBee
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2004 03:19:03 PM »

I was quite curious about these when I stumbled on this post yesterday,so I took a chance & "saved" the .doc file linked to an earlier post. I opened the file & saw what they actually were. I, in turn made my own, enlarging the font a bit & also changing it to a more unique looking one- Dauphin. I printed these onto a cardstock-like paper & cutted them out (They're not the same size, it's hard to cut the lines when they're very faint.).
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everything is so neat!


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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2004 07:44:15 PM »

i like these a lot!

is there a standard set of sayings or did you make up your own?
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poterat
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2004 05:08:37 AM »

Argh! HOw did you manage to cut all the cards the same size. I don't want to use a ruler!
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2004 06:42:15 AM »

these cards are inspirational. they seem to help you take your mind off of other things and let your brain relax a little. i have one question though. do they have to be a particular size.
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ForevrBee
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2004 09:06:01 AM »

I had an idea to make my own, but instead of words & quotes & such, I used letters from a dingbat font called RQ. Each letter/symbol has its own specific meaning:

RUNE             KEY
      
[td]Air   a   a or A[/td]
[td]Beast   b   b or B[/td]
[td]Chaos   c   c or C[/td]
[td]Cold   k   k[/td]
[td]Darknessd   d or D[/td]
[td]Death   t   t or T[/td]
[td]Disorderj   j or J[/td]
[td]Dragon   N   N[/td]
[td]Dragonewtn   n[/td]
[td]Earth, Lighte   e[/td]
[td]Earth, DarkE   E[/td]
[td]Fate   *   *[/td]
[td]Fertility   x   x or X[/td]
[td]Fire   f   f[/td]
[td]Harmonyh   h or H[/td]
[td]Heat K K[/td]
[td]Hunger   g   g or G[/td]
[td]Ice   F   F[/td]
[td]Illusion   i   i or I[/td]
[td]Infinity   8   8[/td]
[td]Law   l   l or L[/td]
[td]Light   o   o[/td]
[td]Luck   !   ![/td]
[td]Magic   r   r or R[/td]
[td]Man   m   m or M[/td]
[td]Masteryw   w or W[/td]
[td]Moon   q   q or Q[/td]
[td]Movementv   v or V[/td]
[td]Pamalt   ^   ^[/td]
[td]Plant   p   p or P[/td]
[td]ShadowO   O[/td]
[td]Spirit   s   s or S[/td]
[td]Stasis   u   u or U[/td]
[td]Trade   #   #[/td]
[td]Truth   y   y or Y[/td]
[td]Water   z   z or Z[/td]

      
[td]Crescent Go Moon   1   1[/td]
[td]Dying Moon   2   2[/td]
[td]Black Moon    3 3[/td]
[td]Crescent Come Moon4   4[/td]
[td]Empty Half Moon   5   5[/td]
[td]Full Moon    6 6[/td]
[td]Full Half Moon   7   7[/td]
      
[td]Empty Bullet   =   =[/td]
[td]Filled Bullet   + +[/td]
[td]Crossed Out Bullet   -   -[/td][/table]



I'd even made my own giving certain shapes to the signs of the zodiac:
Aries: Diamond
Taurus: Flower
Gemini: Music Note
Cancer: Dewdrop
Leo: Sun
Virgo: Circle
Libra: Heart
Scorpio: Ankh
Sagittarius: Star
Capricorn: Hourglass
Aquarius: Thunderbolt
Pisces: Seashell
« Last Edit: June 07, 2004 05:56:41 PM by ForevrBee » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2004 09:29:03 AM »

Thanks for the wonderful new project!!  I've printed your word doc (changed the script to gothic) and I'm going to make the cards tonight.  I really need these at work...especially the ones advocating more patience...hee hee  Grin
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Steph
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2004 01:30:36 PM »

is there a standard set of sayings or did you make up your own?

You can make up your own, but I based my decks on previous editions of the Oblique Strategies.  However, I put in some blank cards so the recipients could make up their own if they wanted to.

Argh! HOw did you manage to cut all the cards the same size. I don't want to use a ruler!

I cut them very carefully with scissors.  When I made the document, I arranged the cards on a table with light gray borders and made sure the lines were all equidistant so that when it printed out all I would have to do was follow the dotted lines as I cut.  The cards weren't perfectly rectangular, but when I stacked the cards they looked handcut in the good way.

these cards are inspirational. they seem to help you take your mind off of other things and let your brain relax a little. i have one question though. do they have to be a particular size.

They can be whatever size you want.  It pretty much depends on the size of your box.
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rmember_myreply
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2004 06:14:34 PM »

in drawing 101 we had to sketch in our sketch books every night one olbique strategy

we had the water one! we could either take it literally or figuratively, whichever way you wanted to take it... it was fun!
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« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2004 06:32:00 PM »

those look really nice.

ok, maybe I'm really dense, but I looked at the website and even googled it, but I still can't figure out exactly what you do with them.  anyone want to explain?  please?
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Steph
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2004 07:50:37 PM »

The precise function of the Oblique Strategies is nebulous, but in general they are used as creative prompts.

A note about my version of the deck that I have posted up in Word format.  Since none of the recipients were musician types, I culled most of the cards that were applicable to musical processes.  If you download the file, feel free to reinstate those cards in your version.

Also, here's another downloadable and printable version of the Oblique Strategies made by a Matthew Davidson.  His version has smaller cards and entails more paper waste because of the spaces in between the cards, but it's another option.  http://www.stretta.com/~matthew/resources/oblique/oblique.pdf
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Flip Flop
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2004 10:23:22 PM »

"I am a banana"...... "My spoon is too big!" Love the quote!! I love those films
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dybbuk
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2004 06:54:24 PM »

The title of this topic peaked my interest, but I'd only had heard of Brian Eno through his connection to U2 (My favorite Band!). Those cards are really cool! What a great idea.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2004 06:57:59 PM by dybbuk » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2004 02:03:36 PM »

I recently showed a friend of mine my set, and she liked them so much that she printed her own set, but does something really interesting with them. She sticks them into her journal, and then does a few pages of abstract writing about the card she stuck in. It's really good excercise for the mind, she says.
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