We made another fantastic find at Artists Books, Multiples and Editions: an image of David Bowie’s well-worn, taped-together set of Oblique Strategies cards. Created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in the seventies (they were WAY ahead of their time), the cards are meant to be picked at random when a musician or artist found themselves ‘stuck’ and in need of a shift of view. Bowie clearly got a lot of use out of them.
They are potent and beautiful and by many accounts, really work.
Because there were only a limited number of analog editions produced, a set costs upwards of $500; if you’ve got the dough, you’ll find them here. (This ancient site gives a great history though few of the links work). So we hunted for a digital option.
And we found one, here.
Go to the page and click on “Click here for a new pick” to generate a new card. The words will appear, white on black.
It’s not quite as elegant or organic as Eno’s beautiful analog version, but it can do the trick at the right moment. We have it on our browser’s toolbar. Here is a beauty:
There’s a list of the Second Edition’s cards here with some really great, often challenging advice, like…
Do nothing for as long as possible.
Note: the iPhone Oblique Strategies app is lame.