Oblique Strategies Revisited

Brian Eno & Peter Schmidt’s celebrated card set is occasionally wonderful, but even six editions in, gains from editing and enhancement. Here are some suggested additions and enhancements that sharpen the ideas and broaden the context. Various editions of the deck are documented here and Eno’s handwritten version is here. 

BEING HUMAN
What if you were 1m tall? 3m?
Sensory restriction (enhancement)

PROCESS & CHANGE
The smallest change you can get away with (what is the difference that makes a difference?)
Exchange form & function / process & structure
Phase change (e.g. melting)
Fix a different variable
Maximin / minimax

STRUCTURE/FORM
Greatest common denominator / lowest common multiple  
Encrypt / decrypt
Two points define a line (three a plane)
Reflect, rotate, translate, reverse, invert, evert, fold, twist
Move up/down a dimension
Try another space (spherical, toroidal, hyperbolic…)
Exchange space and time (or other dimensions)
Stitch up the holes
Loop (join up the ends)
Traverse the whole tree
Reduce a choice at each node
Make the continuous discrete (sample), & v.v.
Build hierachy
Flatten (every part is of equal importance)
Decentralise / centralise
Orbit the perimeter
Radial motion: go to an extreme, come part way back
Different curves (rates of change)
Plot it as a graph (2D, 3D…)
Distribute information spectrally
Balance shapes/hues/volumes…

CONTEXT
What is the bigger problem? Is it easier to solve?
Make a smaller model (scale or restrict)
Who is the ‘we’? (who is it for?)
Perturbations – of what field? (radio communication requires a electromagnetic field)
Try a different scale (molecular, human…)
Abuse your instruments (telescopic inversion)

SOUND SPECIFIC
Change the style / intonation / tuning / scale / bandwidth
(Reverse) echo / reverb
Hydrophonic sources, – treatments
Ping pong across multiple channels
Make it mono
Wow and/or flutter

LINGUISTIC
Reverse of the tapestry / black of the mirror
Make something implied more explicit
Reinforce, duplicate
Analogy from a distant field
Yes, No, Maybe
Exploit homophones
Purge mannerisms
Is it a metaphor? 
Push the AI (iterate MS Word’s Autosummarise, Google Translate…)

 

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