Peter Schmidt and Brian Eno, London, ca. 1977, photo by Rita Saarikko
There are moments, including some that feel eternal, before a glimmer - nevermind the rare but merciful appearance of a lit runway - when something different needs to appear so the work can change. But ah yes, in-between is often a time of uncertainty mixed with a craving for a clear concept, another scale, an unpredictable yet oh-so-right medium, or dare I say, a ‘divine intervention’ - like creative footwear - to metaphorically cross the dark desert, leap over the edge of a plateau, and land - somewhere else - perfectly… on cat’s feet.
Yoko Ono’s book, Grapefruit, written in 1964 with its “poetic, playful, counter intuitive and mind-expanding texts,” is an engaging ‘oracle.’ I recently came across Oblique Strategies, adding it as well to my left-field repertoire when travelling through the territory of lateral thinking. It’s a method from 1975 devised by musician / composer/ artist Brian Eno and artist Peter Schmidt that was "initially published as a set of 100 cards containing a single provocative prompt.”
“…the card is trusted even if its appropriateness is quite unclear. They are not final, as new ideas will present themselves, and others will become self-evident."
Each of the Oblique Strategies is brief so, instead of purchasing the deck of cards, they can freely be written on small pieces of paper and kept together in a paper bag until “one of those moments” inevitably happens. The difference for me now is that the work has the possibility to be more experimental and the process navigated with a seemingly random yet synchronous poise.
1. The original list of Oblique Strategies (via Matt Rickard)
2. In 1996, Brian Eno rewrote and illustrated the Oblique Strategies, publishing them in English + 5 more languages
3. In 2013, Guy Horton came up with a revised list of the Oblique Strategies for architects