News is belatedly reaching our webmasters that the Invisible League 10AP season has already kicked off, largely unannounced, naturally.
The first game was held to mark the conjunction of Jupiter and Mars, in triple-faced January. It entailed a band of six situlogists embarking on an attempt to catalyse new experiments in time travelling football, augmenting the mythspace of a recently documented temporal anomaly in the Woolwich Foot Tunnel.
A second game was not far behind. Experiments in the application of triolectics to borromean manifolds via anti-Euclidean playing surfaces took place one mid-February dusk at an undisclosed South London location.
In an experiment to establish whether there is any merit in the significance that Discordians attach to July 23rd, and given the potential connections discovered previously between 3-sided football and Sirius, players from SOF were in attendance at a community event on a certain housing estate in Silvertown this Sunday.
Ostensibly, the event was organised by a group of local squatters and was intended to celebrate the area’s working class inhabitants, through a survey of area’s pubs – past and present – and by collecting local memories of the Ferry Festivals of yesteryear.
These squatters – amongst them a sometime affiliate of SOF – had occupied the Tate Institute in March 2016, in a simultaneous, superpositional pincer move with SOF’s own – slightly briefer – occupation of the Tate Modern at that exact same moment. Whilst the latter was a studied example of quantum superposition – with the Tate’s director of programming apparently still making up her mind about whether to give us permission to play there, one and a half years after we already did – this alternative occupation has been doing rather better in combating the imperialist and profiteering ambitions of Mr. Tate. We look forward to them going further in this respect; the sugar business is pretty far from the sweetness it has long sought to project.
In the meantime we took up the invite to resurrect Tate FC for the occasion, perhaps in the hope of exorcising some of the Tate’s historical power, so effectively concealed by its latter-day art franchise. Given the Tate’s ongoing cultural imperialism and the portraits of spitfires hanging in the doorway of the Royal British Legion, the the swastika graffiti adorning the exterior was an unpromising, if ironic, start. Yet the “Legionnaires” seemed amiable enough, and biscuits were shared, whilst someone deconstructed Louis Armstrong Jazz records on a gramophone, via a complex method of arrhythmically varying the speed of rotation.
In the end, after much chasing of giant soap bubbles through the estate, the afternoon spontaneously gave rise to a game of 3-Sided Football between Triangles, Hexagons and Circles, essentially comprising of those possessed by the ghost of Tate FC, a group of Romanian kids from the estate (plus their grandmother), a family of Lithuanian tourists and various members of the Royal British Legion. This motley band commenced playing with a magically charged rubber fetish of the contemporary US President’s head. They did so on the cusp of a sudden thunderstorm, which immediately drew everyone together in sheltering under the legionnaires’ canopy; by pure accident going further in the cause of community relations than any number of carefully choreographed participatory art projects. They did so, however, without the art’s spurious illusions of “democratic” consensus, given the conspicuous NO BALL GAMES signs that haunted the particular courtyard outside Costcutter, and which served as the impromptu concrete pitch for the match.
Neither ourselves, nor the players yet fully understand the significance of these events, but given the turbulence of the storm which immediately followed the game, surely something was shifted within the unique morphology of relations – the situation – which this accidental collision, this game, brought momentarily into play.
It has come to our attention that SOF were recently asked to conduct an interview, ostensibly for BA’s In-flight magazine ‘High Life’, although they suspect this may have been a ruse for certain hostile parties to gather intelligence on their activities. Nevertheless, SOF entered into the spirit of the matter and replied as best they could.
The following presents a transcript of that conversation, conducted between the journalist [“Ollie”] and an anonymous SOF defender:
Sorry for the delayed response, I was away in Lithuania; appropriately, I was actually playing three-sided football – with the aid of a triolectical moving goalpost machine and two dozen school kids – to mark the occasion of the conjunction of Ceres and Mercury.
Here are some answers to your questions:
What attracted you to 3SF initially, and when was that? How has it grown in SE London (and elsewhere)?
It was initially the rather spurious “Situationist” connection that attracted me to 3SF. Only later did I realise that the game’s allegedly Situationist origins were a ruse, introduced to obscure a far richer history, dating back to festive games played since at least the medieval period and probably beyond. I had been aware of the writings of the Situationist International for some time, initially through various zines, newsletters and flyers that had circulated around the myriad psychogeographical groups who were actively reimagining Situationist positions during the 1990s. One such text, from a group called the Workshop for Non-Linear Architecture, described a game called Incidental Urban Poker – in which players participate with poker hands made up of cards they find in the street, a game that could stretch over long years and cross continents. Upon reading the text, myself and a few comrades began our own period of extended drifting, around London, Glasgow, Manchester and elsewhere, travelling here and there, staying in Travel Lodges and empty studios, going by the collective name of Ernest. It was as part of these researches that we started our own game of Urban Poker, initially between London and New Dehli. Suddenly it was like casting the psychic nets into an abundant ocean; cards not only began to wash up at our feet, but almost, it seemed, to throw themselves at us, out of the deep blue yonder. Then on the evening of 23rd May 2013, Ernest met “Ron” [name changed to protect the identity of this individual – Ed.]. The occasion was a reception celebrating the reissue of original Situationist Michele Bernstein’s psychogegraphic novella, The Night.
Here Ron and I began discussing Urban Poker and coincidentally it turned out he had participated a certain organisation crucial to the game’s early development. To add further coincidence, he was also an avid three-sided football player, having been involved in the early Glasgow experiments and playing – of all places – down the road in my local park, although he was having some trouble getting the numbers together for regular full games. Upon hearing this, I managed to convince some ex-comrades of mine from the nomadic invisible college that had for the previous three years gone by the name of the University for Strategic Optimism to simultaneously disband the University and establish a three-sided football team, Strategic Optimism Football: to give up activism for 3SF (although this gesture was thrown into some doubt from day one, as we played our very first game under a banner of solidarity with the Rosa Montana movement against a scheme for neo-imperialist gold-mining concurrently being bitterly resisted in the Transylvanian mountains). Bizarrely, perhaps coincidentally, at that time I was aged exactly 33 and a 3rd. From the injection of players we provided, regular games began to emerge in S.E. London, eventually morphing the Luther Blissett Deptford Three-Sided Football League. The location of this league in S.E. London is another remarkable coincidence, given that this is an area of acute psychogeographical significance, sometimes considered to be centred on the so-called New Cross Triangle, having given birth, variously, to the London Psychogeographical Association, Chaos Magic and the Sex Pistols, as well as having been crucial in stopping the onward march of street fascism in the UK, at the so-called “Battle of Lewisham” in 1977.
That is not to say that the game has in any way been limited to S.E. London. As I say, its origins have been contested and may lie in Glasgow, Scandinavia, Mexico, China or Africa. There have been extensive debates and numerous papers published upon this very topic. It made for lively discussions at the 1th Three-Sided Football World Cup in Silkeborg, Denmark in 2014 and will doubtless do so again at the International Congress of Three-Sided Footballers arranged to coincide with this year’s World Cup in Kathalytus. Games have been played from Australia to Alytus, Belarus to Bilbao, Borneo to Bogotá, Malawi to Milan, New York to Malaysia; in ancient stone circles and Soviet fuel silos; from a game against the dead workers of Highgate Cemetery, to a midwinter midnight game in a remote mountain forest in the Czech Republic; from games in Greenwich with goalposts made of bicycles, to games on the shore of Baltic Sea with a giant football the size of a Ford Fiesta.
Please could you talk through some of the characters in your team (and others) and their more unusual hobbies?
Three-Sided Football is a collective endeavour, we do not subscribe to so-called “great men” historiographies, neither do we condone the celebrity culture and individualism cultivated by traditional association football. As such, any talk of “characters” is alien to our sensibilities. There are varied backgrounds and interests in our ranks, from quantum physicists to musicians, poets to builders.
You told me about your never-ending game of poker in which players can only use cards found on the street. What was it called again (psychogeographical poker?)? And how long have you been playing it for? What has been your best hand?!
See above. My best hand was five aces.
How would you describe the Strategy Optimism shirts (you mentioned thunder, dust etc … more of that please!)?
When Strategic Optimism Football was formed, it immediately entered its “amplic” phase, expanding and growing to the point that its mercurial rise culminated in winning the Deptford League on the third “yellow” triolectical axis (the league is contested on three complementary and incompatible axes of measurement simultaneously). The shirts for this phase were constructed by three invited sex workers, during a drug-fuelled industrial sploshing session on Halloween 2013. The shirts thus collided the industrial painting strategies of the artist Pino Gallizio with ritual magic and an eroticised paint fight to produce a rather fetching psychedelic effect. After three years however, SOF entered a new “chiselling” phase, coinciding with so-called “Black Moon” of 2016; a phase due to end on the night of the next scheduled Black Moon in 2019. This chiselling phase called for an inversion of the previous colourful explosions that had characterised the shirts of our amplic phase, an inversion inspired by the auto-destructive paintings of the renowned striker Gustav Metzger. The auto-destructive shirts were thus painted, splattered and dunked with a specially mixed brew of bleach and sulphuric acid, during a particularly violent thunderstorm, the torrential rain serving to streak the bleached and burned shirts in a pleasing manner, portending the team’s own gradual dissolution.
And you mentioned that your aim was to get it disbanded – how is that going, and why do you want to do that?
As mentioned above, on the occasion of the October 2016 Black Moon, Strategic Optimism Football entered their three-year chiselling phase. This marks the final three years before the climax of their Nine Year Plan (and the next return of the Black Moon) in 2019, heralding a new era. The ease with which the team achieved its sweeping successes across both domestic and international arenas and the burgeoning worldwide expansion of three-sided football within sporting, artistic, scientific, philosophical and occult circles has been pronounced. SOF’s players have, as a result, grown so indifferent and bored of the game’s competitive iterations that they have decided to eliminate one element of their existence every day up to the team’s complete dissolution on August 30th, 2019 (vulg.). Thus, while everyone is trying to get into three-sided football, we’re doing our best to get out of it.
What attributes does a good 3SF player need to possess?
A good three-sided footballer must possess three key attributes: Strategy, optimism, and a keen awareness of the particularly psychogeographical camber produced within the rotational dynamic of a three-sided singularity. The first can be taught, for example by studying the work of Sun Tzu, Clausewitz or Brian Clough; the second can only be unlearned, counter to our daily experiences, although children do have a particular propensity; the third is most systematically developed through driftwork and other such games, Chess or Go being notable, particularly in their three-sided variants.
Will you be going to the World Cup, and if so how will you be getting there (there was some talk of a van … )?
We will indeed by going to this year’s World Cup. As we are a mixture of nationalities – and anyway despise those most irredeemable character flaws: nationalism, patriotism and the frankly incestuous vice known as the love of one’s country – we will not represent any topographical region or nation-state. Instead, we hail from the psycho-geographical territory of Meonia. There will therefore be five of us travelling over from Meonia in our new ice cream van (which, instead of playing the maudlin strains of Greensleeves or Yankie Doodle, instead subjects passers-by to a marginally less annoying barrage of auto-destructive noise and shrieking).
Operatives of Strategic Optimism Football recently joined forces with agents of FIASCo and DAMTP to construct a Cyclotron Accelerator in an abandoned school in Dreverna, Lithuania (2017 vulg.), just across the lagoon from the Baltic Sea. Built to harness the planetary conjunction of Earth, Ceres and Mercury, the machine was an resounding success, despite some issues with quantum gravity persistently buckling one of the back wheels. Nevertheless, it successfully drew together a powerful vortex of players for the conjunction game, which passed off delightfully.
Prior to this, successful experimental games of Wandsworth Rules 3SF and a Large Hadron Supernova game had likewise been carried out successfully. In addition, there was also a midnight parade, conducted to honour the achievements of the great engineers and scientists who had given their energy so splendidly in this endeavour.
In a bizarre twist, some players were rather spooked by suggestions that the cyclotron succeeded in opening up a momentary wormhole, at the exact moment of the conjunction. At that precise moment, around midnight local time, a car pulled up and three men got out. They walked, in silence, over to the site of the cyclotron, abandoned as it was on a local basketball court. Still in silence, they took out a basketball, shot one hoop, turned around and walked away. Without a word, they got back into their car and drove off. Aside from this being evidence of a brief spatiotemporal slippage, no other theories have as yet been forthcoming as an explanation for these bizarre events.
The Introduction of the Triolectical Scoring System:
The triolectical league table scoring system was invented at a three-way meeting between delegates of Strategic Optimism Football, T.A.R. Deptford and a certain well-renowned anarchist, art-saboteur and sometime antiques dealing cowboy [who shall remain nameless] over a breakfast of eggs and coffee, one August morning in a Lithuanian hotel bar.
To mark the special triple holly-day of International Workers’ Day, Beltane and the anniversary of Asger Jorn’s death, the Luther Blissett Deptford 3-Sided Football League welcomed special guest referee, Holly from Holland, all the way from New Amsterdam, to officiate over this season’s penultimate fixtures.
Referees are a controversial subject in 3-Sided Football, as this extract from Dr. F. Iasco’s introductory chapter to The Book of Deptford (2017 edition) illustrates:
Referees in the Three-Sided Game:Several modern codes of Three-Sided Football have experimented with referees, but to date, no consensus has been definitively been established on their use.Major international tournaments, such as the World Cup (Slikeborg, 2014), the European Triarchy Championship (2016), or the Istanbul Biennial (2013) have used referees. As have other major cup competitions, such as the Beaconsfield tournament (2007); The Mike Shields Shield (2009); Lyon (2009); Metz (2010) and Brétigny-sur-orge (2011); Guggenheim Bilbao’s Think Football tournament (2011-12); Belarus’s 3G Football (2011); Madrid (2011); Rome (2011); Malaysia (2012); Borneo (2016); and Malawi (2016). However, other such tournaments (First Flux Footballum Equinox Fest, London, Amsterdam, Carrara, 2016) have not.Similarly, leagues such as the Luther Blissett Deptford League and the CLASS league (UK) do not use a referee (although a time-keeper is used). Meanwhile others, such as the Bogotá Futbol3 League (Columbia), the Melbourne and Sydney leagues (Australia), and Tribal (UK) have done so.AAA games across Europe, Asia, North America and New Zealand were mixed: Vienna (1997), and The Intergalactic Triolectical Football Cup (1999), for example, featured officiation, whilst Bologna (1998) and One Tree Hill (1998) did not. Others such as the Luther Blissett Three-Sided Football League, the Alytus Art Strke Biennial and DAMTP have similarly oscillated between the use of umpires and their rejection.Currently, the Luther Blissett Deptford 3-Sided Football League operates by a system of Simple Majority Vote. Consensus Decision-Making (CDM) was tried, with mixed results, proving vulnerable to the same, significant flaws identified in consensus models by those such as Jo Freeman (The Tyranny of Structurelessness, 1972, The Second Wave. 2 (1): 20) and Luther Blissett (Consensus and Its Discontents, Libcom, 2008). It was found that consensus simply tended to reproduce the authoritarian dominance of a minority, leaving little to distinguish it from the intercession of a referee. Needless to say, consensus proves popular amongst anarchists, but has no real basis in the Workers’ Movement.Simple Majority Voting, however proved more successful. Although when applied to the triolectical dynamic, this tended to result in majoritarian decisions, it did nevertheless act as a constitutional break upon the dominance of stronger teams over time, likewise preventing inordinately vocal or aggressive players from further cementing their position.It should be noted, however, that the introduction of referees has not always proved successful either. When New Cross Irregulars responded to their defeat in the 2015-16 Luther Blissett Deptford League by setting up the parallel Triball League (2017), they did so, primarily, in order to be able to introduce referees. The move was heavily criticised in the tract The Essence of Refereeing by a group calling itself Footballers for Feuerbach, in which it was argued that referees simply serve as an abdication of responsibility by those pacified by spectacular society, acting merely as an abstract projection of the players’ own powers of decision-making and debate. This position was in turn critiqued by others, from both Marxist and Stirnerist perspectives. The debates were rendered moot, however, when irreconcilable disagreements over the referee’s decisions led to the collapse of the new league within months.
Some older codes of the three-sided game, recorded as having survived into the 19th century in Central and Eastern Asia, are said to have made use of a referee known as the “Raqshaq”. This term, semiologists have speculated, perhaps derives from a Hindi expression meaning “protector”. Hindu philosophers theorised that the universe was comprised of three competing, but necessary, deities known as the Trimurti: Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Protector, and Shiva the Destroyer. It has been argued that Vishnu and his earthly avatars such as Krishna were perhaps identified with this figure. Indeed, the “Krishna dance” is known as a Lila – “sport” – and participants “play” at being cowherds who “sport” with Krishna in a kind of ritual game. Indeed, according to Alain Danielou (Hindu Polytheism, New York: Bollingen Foundation, 1964, p.144), the “gods play. The rise and duration and destruction of the world is their game”.Such theories have proved controversial, however, drawing accusations of occulted authoritarianism. Critics argue that such readings are in fact modern interpolations, made by Europeans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, informed by Theosophical, Occultist and, ultimately Nationalistic currents, along with Aryanism and Romantic exoticism. They suggest that talk of referees having possessed some mystical or religious authority is an artefact of the authoritarian motivations that lay behind such tendencies.Whilst much evidence does indeed suggest that Three-Sided Football may once have had a ritual purpose – not only in many of its Asian iterations, but in its Meso-American and European versions likewise – there appears to be no compelling evidence that referees or other officiating authority figures, be they priests or rulers, were a regular feature of these activities. Or if they were, that they held any spiritual significance. Rather, if anything, it is the unruly character of the game-play that seems to predominate in most accounts, with the priest class temporarily reduced to figures of humour or mockery in the burlesque merrymaking of the game.
Three years ago the University for Strategic Optimism announced its auto-dissolution and simultaneous morphological transformation into the footballing order, Strategic Optimism Football.
This weekend–commencing 30th September–marks a significant triple conjunction:
- Firstly, the three year anniversary of SOF’s foundation.
- Secondly, a rare “Black Moon” in Scorpio (in transition from Harvest Moon to Blood Moon).
- Thirdly, following the 13 month lunar calendar, the regular moon-thly meeting of Deptford’s Luther Blissett Three-Sided Football League.
As is well known, Three-Sided Football builds on Asger Jorn’s invaluable research with the Danish archaeologist P.V. Glob into ancient mnemonic festivities, organised at druidic stone circle sun temples to mark the coincidence of the lunar and solar cycles every 33 years. Jorn’s crucial contribution was, of course, realising that this coincidence also unlocked the key structuring principle of European philosophy, inherited via the Egyptian hermetic orders from the East, and the Black Celt seafarers, with their megalithic architecture, from the West. In short, he demonstrated the indissoluble link between the triple-phase of Hegel’s dialectic, Kierkegaard’s “Three Stages” and the triadic structure of Quantum Chromodynamics, as first intimated by the intuitions of Niels Bohr. All three cases showed the unity of two and three—Hegel’s three-phase dialectic; Kierkegaard’s triple-stage “either/or” existentialism; and, Bohr’s quantum logic of complementarity. Jorn called this discovery “triolectics”.
The University for Strategic Optimism was the third in a line of “Invisible Colleges” including the ancestor of today’s Royal Society and Alex Trocchi’s Project Sigma. Founded in 2010, UfSO was instrumental in triggering the scandal that sparked the wave of riots and strikes beginning at Cleopatra’s Needle, London (en route to Milbank Tower) in November 2010, spreading across Europe and beyond, eventually being pacified through dissolution into the harmless Bakuninist diversions of “Occupy” a year later.
On its three-year anniversary UfSO dissolved and reformed as Strategic Optimism Football. Now, on its own three-year anniversary, coinciding, as stated, with the Black Moon (and not coincidentally, a minor stock market crash), Strategic Optimism Football enters the third phase of their Nine Year Plan.
The previous three years have seen SOF’s “amplic” phase reach its culmination: winning the Luther Blissett Deptford League on the primary “yellow”, or “aesthetic”, matrix. Following the Kabbalistic system first codified in Botoșani, Moldova, in the 1940s, by Isidore Isou, it now, upon the dawning of the Black Moon, enters its final, “chiselling” phase. This marks the final three years before the climax of the Nine Year Plan (and the next return of the Black Moon) in 2019, heralding a new era.
To mark this occasion Strategic Optimism Football famous multi-coloured “amplic” kit (conjured by drug-fuelled, footballing sex workers during an industrial painting/sploshing session on Hallowe’en) will itself undergo a transformative morphology. Watch the skies.