Donald’s Oblique Strategies
Instigate a process that removes the necessity for you to make decisions
Don’t ‘represent’ a process, replicate it
Research an abandoned technology and make it your own.
Ask a (hopefully) perfect stranger
Think like a beginner
Pretend you have all the time in the world
Make an exhaustive list of alternate materials and processes you can use and consider using them
Consider the frame/border – Where does the piece end?
Consider all scales – strive for richness at all levels
Highly finished surfaces aren’t ‘better’ – Why remove the marks that are already there as part of the process?
Fast is good!
My preferred selections from Eno’s Oblique Strategies
Abandon normal instruments
Allow an easement (an easement is an abandonment of a stricture)
Always the first steps
Are there sections? Consider transitions
Ask people to work against their better judgment
Ask your body
Back up a few steps. What else could you have done?
Be less critical more often
Breathe more deeply
Bridges – build & burn
Call your mother and ask her what to do.
Change nothing and continue with immaculate consistency
Consult other sources – promising & unpromising
Define and area as ‘safe’ and use it as an anchor
Destroy nothing; Destroy the most important thing
Discard an axiom
Disconnect from desire
Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them
Do nothing for as long as possible
Do something boring
Do the washing up
Don’t avoid what is easy
Don’t be afraid of things because they are easy to do
Don’t be frightened of cliches
Don’t be frightened to display your talents
Emphasize the flaws
Faced with a choice, do both
Find a safe part and use it as an anchor
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
Honor thy error as a hidden intention
How would someone else do it?
Imagine the piece as a set of disconnected events (elements)
Instead of changing the thing, change the world around it.
Intentions – credibility of, nobility of, humility of..
Into the impossible
Is it finished?
Is there something missing?
It is quite possible (after all)
It is simply a matter of work
Just carry on
Listen to the quiet voice
List the qualities it has. List those you’d like.
Look at the order in which you do things
Look at very small object, look at its center
Look at the order in which you do things
Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify them
Make a blank valuable by putting it in an exquisite 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
Not building a wall but making a brick
Once the search is in progress, something will be found
Only a part, not the whole
Only one element of each kind
Overtly resist change
Pay attention to distractions
Question the heroic approach
Remember those quiet evenings
Remove a restriction
Remove ambiguities and convert to specifics
Remove specifics and convert to ambiguities
Repetition is a form of change
Retrace your steps
Short circuit (eg. a man eating peas with the idea that they will improve his virility shovels them straight into his lap)
Simply a matter of work
Slow preparation, fast execution
State the problem in words as clearly as possible
Steal a solution.
Take a break
Take away the elements in order of apparent non-importance
Tape your mouth
The most important thing is the thing most easily forgotten
Towards the insignificant
Trust in the you of now
Turn it upside down (inside out)
Twist the spine
Use a tool with unknown results
Use an old idea
Use fewer notes (elements)
Use something nearby as a model
Use “unqualified” people.
Voice your suspicions
What are you really thinking about just now, incorporate
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 would your closest friend do?
What wouldn’t you do?
When is it for? Who is it for?
Where is the edge?
Work at a different speed
Would anybody want it?
You don’t have to be ashamed of using your own ideas