Art &Technology
- Pop Art - Brian Eno

Brian Eno was born in Woodbridge, Suffolk in May 1948.

Brian Eno: Oblique Strategies. 1980

Fig.: Brian Eno on the VCS3 in 1973

Fig.: Brian Eno at the typewriter in 1975


The deck of cards known as the Oblique Strategies began its life as a collaborative act by two friends, Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt, who discovered that they were using similar means to solve similar problems which arose in the course of their work.

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(Click on your browser's "Refresh" button to receive a new strategic advice.
Note! This seems to not work on Netscape 4.7 running on Macs, sorry - sort that out soon.)

In turn, several of their friends also appear in the project, since they have various strategies attributed to them throughout the course of the strategies' existence:

" Always give yourself credit for having more than personality " (given by Arto Lindsay)

" Faced with a choice, do both " (given by Dieter Rot)

" Tape your mouth " (given by Ritva Saarikko)

" Try faking it " (from Stewart Brand)

"'Oblique Strategies' are a box-set of over 100 cards with a short, cryptic statement or aphorism. They are to be used as a technique to prompt intuition and escape blind alleys in various creative pursuits. Like many of Eno's procedures the idea for the cards had its origins in his experiences with Roxy Music. Working in the recording studio, Eno noticed that interesting ideas and sounds that arose by chance were constantly passed over and lost forever. Sometimes the musicians were so caught up in the task at hand that these special moments went completely unnoticed. To combat this tendency, Eno began to compile lists of reminders designed to open his eyes to the aleatory occurrences of the recording process. Eno transcribed 64 or so of these messages - some technical, some conceptual, some just plain cryptic - onto a deck of small cards. Whenever he was unable to decide what to do next he would pick one of the cards at random and try to apply it to his problem. Shortly afterwards, Eno discovered that his artist friend, Peter Schmidt, had produced a similar set of observations to aid his own work as a painter. The two decided to combine their cards, produce some new ones that did not arise specifically from their work, and publish the pack as a box-set. With the subtitle; 'Over one-hundred worthwhile dilemmas', Eno explained that their function was: "simply to bring the consciousness one has as a listener to ones consciousness as a composer - to deal with things in a much more studied way."

(Kevin Eden, Fourth Door Research)

Further Reading:

Eno, Brian: "Pro Session: The Studio as Compositional Tool" In two parts, Down Beat 50 (July 1983), pp. 56-57, and Down Beat (Aug. 1983), pp. 50-52

Gans, David: Talking Heads: The Band and Their Music (New York: Avon Books) 1985

Kelly, Kevin: "Gossip is Philosophy," interview with Brian Eno, Wired 1995

Tamm, Eric: Brian Eno and the Vertical Color of Sound (updated edition)(New York: De Capo Press) 1995