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.
Earlier that week SOF had presented a report to the bi-annual conference of Data Miners and Psychic Workers. Here they had presented experimental results from the establishment of a competitive league system in the Luther Blissett Deptford 3-Sided Football League during the preceding season. These results, they argued, suggested that through the very fact of a league system having only two directions of movement – up or down – the binarism of traditional Association Football was reinstituted by the back door. The corollary of this development had thus also been a return of competitive aggression, and a steady decline in participation by players from outside the dominant social groups over-represented within traditional football: women, children, or the differently able. In an effort to introduce an experimental détournement to this growing and unwelcome tendency, a rethink the league scoring structure was agreed upon.
Taking inspiration from the theory of triolectical complementarity, upon which 3-Sided Football was originally codified, it was suggested that three complementary scoring systems be introduced. Victory upon one of these measures would necessarily be incompatible with victory on the others; any one victory would thus be complementary to two others, with the incentives for each pulling games in several incompatible directions at once.
And so, complementary to the traditional measure of victory, that is to say, conceding the fewest goals, two further measures of success were introduced. In Asger Jorn’s theory of triolectics, one of the most recurrent triads is that of Unity, Equivalence and Difference. This was thus deemed a suitable model for a new scoring system. Since team unity was an important part of achieving success on the traditional measure, Unity was thus already taken care of in the form of the first, original measure of victory. This left, secondly, Equivalence – to be awarded to the team whose score in each game fell closest to the mean score of the three teams involved, that is to say, that team who most successfully achieved triolectical equilibrium with their opponents. Thirdly, the final, new measure of success was to be awarded for Difference, or variety, that is to say, the largest range achieved by a team over the course of the season between their lowest and highest scores: the team most distinct from both their opposition and themselves.
The complementary scoring system was thus implemented for the 8AP [2015-16 vulg.] season of the Luther Blissett Deptford League, although without making much traction in terms of diverting the league’s tendency to reproduce binary relations. Hypotheses as to why this was the case are varied. Perhaps the most promising theory however, is the suggestion that, given this particular Variety-Equivalence-Unity triolectic is based upon the rallying cry of liberal bourgeois revolution – Liberty, Equality, Fraternity – it is only natural that it should reproduce the bourgeois binarisms of class society. Nevertheless, determined to rigourously test this contention, the system was repeated during the 9AP [2016-17 vulg.] season, again to little effect, although this time with an interesting result. This time the system produced a seemingly impossible paradox, apparently dialectically opposed to its own implicit complementarity: the same team, Athletico Aesthetico, won victory on both the Equivalence and Difference scales. Yet, if Difference was equivalent to Equivalence, it would cease to be different, but in ceasing to be Difference, it would therefore also therefore cease to be equivalent to Equivalence, becoming different from it, and therefore equivalent to it!
In order to resolve the paradox, it was necessary to reintroduce complementarity, through an either/or choice. Therefore, it was decided, in this case, to do something different: awarding victory to another team altogether. So it was that Husaria became champions of the third measure. Vive la difference!
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; Kassel, 2017), 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.
Simply 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.
Needless to say, Holly’s interventions were scrupulously justified, with only a few players carded and only one new ball having to be introduced. In fact, she enjoyed herself so much, she has pledged to return with a team from across the Atlantic for the World Cup in August.
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 lunar and solar 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 major 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.
Following July’s successful clash between a squad of quantum physicians, sponsored by New Scientist, and assorted three-sided veterans, NXTPA operatives managed to slip past security at London’s Excel Centre to catch Oxford anthropologist Professor Robin Dunbar’s lecture on the game at September’s New Scientist Live event. Our operatives had not taken a sudden interest in number mysticism, opiates and mutual masturbation threesomes, or any of the other red herrings Dunbar threw in to distract his befuddled audience. Indeed, we have been interested in such matters for a long time. No, rather, we were keen to hear Dunbar venture that three-sided football offers direct proof of the hypothesis advanced in ‘Dunbar’s Third Law of Coincidence’. Furthermore, that three-sided variants of the game spontaneously throw up the kind of illusory correlations predicted by the so-called “Dunbar Bell-Curve”. In this regard at least, we were not disappointed.
On the 26th July 8 AP, two days before the dawning of the Proletarian New Year, the Luther Blissett Deptford League celebrated the occasion by organising a special, one-off exhibition match again a team of quantum physicists. Practitioners of the dark arts of quantum mechanics have become increasingly interested in three-sided football of late, following our successful psychic attack on the Imperial Omphalos last November, and particularly, in the wake of our stretching of the Greenwich Meridian, during the First Quantum Flux Footballum Equinox Fest in March.
This particular game saw the quantum physicists’ team of the New Scientists take on the Anti-Scientists (a veritable Bauhaus of designers) and the Dada Scientists (a lumpen mix) on a balmy summer’s evening in New Cross. The game also occasioned the revival of the famed 30m hex of early LBDL matches, and with teams of eight per side, thus in direct contravention of Dunbar’s Bell-Curve, it certainly made for a lively clash. The game ended in victory for the professionally-drilled Anti-Scientists, for whom extensive strategising and a slick new kit undoubtedly paid off. The motley band of assorted Situlogists and ‘Pataphysicians thrown together at the last minute as the Dada Scientists celebrated their namesake movement’s centenary by coming a respectable second. The quantum physicians of the New Scientists however, clearly still have a lot to learn about quantum chromodynamics, trailing a sorry third after mixing up their tactics and failing to ally with the Dada squad to prevent the Anti-Scientists pulling into an unassailable lead.
On the 30th April 8AP, representatives from the APTXN, NXTPA, FIASCo and the LPA Historification Committee convened at the road sign beneath West Ferry Gore (site of the Trivium reclaiming three-sided football match, held as part of the FQFFEF, 8AP). West Ferry Gore—occasionally referred to as West Ferry “Circus”—is a site of some significance. A Gore is the ancient name for a three-sided football pitch, originally to be found at places where three roads met. The name has a long etymology founded in medieval masonic pedagogy: In the schools of the medieval masons there was a distinction between the Trivium and the Quadrivium. The Trivium, which was generally concerned with logic, grammar and rhetoric, was at one time taught through games of three-sided football, with different teams applying different rules according to how they were assigned. This proved so popular that it became hard to persuade people to learn the more serious Quadrivium, which consisted of arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. Three-sided football was thus suppressed and the Trivium was taught in a way that was indistinguishable from the Quadrivium. It is indeed for this reason that Association Football was later formerly codified by the freemasons of London—a diversion to lead the labouring classes away from the true origins of the game, replacing it with a version deriving from the masonic variants passed down through various public schools. It is no coincidence therefore, that this formal codification occurred at the Freemasons Tavern on Great Queen Street (adjacent to the Grand Lodge), on the 26 October 1863.
When famed media theorist Marshall McLuhan wrote The Classical Trivium: The Place of Thomas Nashe in the Learning of His Time as his PhD thesis, he discovered in the course of his research that one of key venues at which these early games of three-sided football were held was West Ferry Gore, on the Isle of Dogs, later immortalised by Thomas Nashe in the play of the same name. The Isle of Dogs, Nashe’s great, lost play was in fact not lost at all, but was actively suppressed, precisely because it reintroduced three-sided football into Elizabethan London. It was published with the intent of sabotaging John Dee’s programme to construct the British Empire on the principles of the Quadrivium, through his magical understanding of Euclid anchored exactly on the Isle of Dogs and the Omphalos he endeavoured to establish there. This sabotage could not be tolerated by the British Crown.
This was the reason for the Trivium reclaiming three-sided football match our operatives performed in an abandoned car park deep beneath West Ferry Gore back in March. Previously, on 21st November 8 PC (2015 vulg), Strategic Optimism Football club in conjunction with the Luther Blissett Deptford League, started to exorcise the space-time Imperial anchor at the Isle of Dogs Omphalos: where the Northwest Passage and the “Linea Regium” (or “Royal Ley”) leylines cross. This was only the start. The aforementioned Northwest Passage line also includes the West Ferry Gore as well, further connecting Glasgow and Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Paris. The exorcism of the Omphalos and later West Ferry Gore was thus part of a wider a time loop: the first known 3SF game, played on 28th May, 1993 in Glasgow connects to Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris through dead quantum lettrist (psychic worker) Isidore Isou (died on 28th July, 2007), so ending the Age of Divinity. The reason for this is obviously that each Three-Sided Football game is the same game – it folds time back on itself, to concentrate our activity in space and class by repeating it in time. It was for this reason, therefore, that we journeyed to the Gore in March, in a further stage of unbinding this line.
During the March game, we attempted an unbinding of the Gore by circling it in a counter-clock-wise rotation (reproductional work or labour). West Ferry Circus is surrounded by the clock-wise rotation traffic filled-up by corporate vehicles, guarded by security forces (destructive workers). Chased away by the security guards, who were eager to prevent our crucial mission, we were however undeterred. Instead we gained clandestine access to the lower levels of the Gore. There, as stated, in an abandoned car park three levels below the surface, we sought to unleash a counter movement, through the playing of thee-sided football. Above, the Gore secretly obtains its extra psychic powers from the binding actions of the supporting rotational traffic. Here the Trivium of the original Gore has been built over by a masonic Octagon, placed within concentric circles, forming the apex of a gigantic sundial, aligned to the shadow cast from the Canary Wharf pyramid on a specific, fateful day of the year.
That game was a qualified success, however, our mission was far from over.Following the clues in Nashe’s surviving work, our operatives were first alerted to the possibility that his famous “lost play” in fact remained intact, and had simply been hidden from the masonic authorities. Furthermore, evidence suggests this fact was known to an old mole in the Tower Hamlets highways department. Following the suppression of his play, and fearing for his life, Nashe fled to Great Yarmouth, on the East Anglian coast, then a wealthy port. Through our psychogeographical investigations, it came to our attention that a particular road sign, situated precisely beneath West Ferry Gore on the Isle of Dogs, indicates that the aforementioned Isle can be accessed via the A1026 (the sign then inexplicably displays a masonic triangle, as if its cryptic message were unclear). However, the Isle of Dogs (the place), can in fact be accessed by theA1206. The A1026, on the otherhand, was formerly a road running through Great Yarmouth (now the B1141 ring road), right past the town’s famed North West Tower, to which Nashe fled! The clues began to fall into place: Firstly, Situationist references to the “Northwest Passage” clearly did not refer to de Quincey after all, but to Nashe’s hidden play. Further, someone in the Tower Hamlets highways department was aware of this and was signalling, via the sign, that The Isle of Dogs (the play), could be found by following the A1026!
With this in mind, we convened at the fateful road sign and set off for the town Nashe called the ‘Immanent Metropolis of the Red Fish’. Was this another clue? A red herring perhaps? We have yet to determine what further permutations our adventures set in motion, although sadly it seems we were unable locate the whereabouts of Nashe’s “lost play” – this time. This, despite extensive inquiries behind the bar at the local pub The White Swan. But then again, if we did find it, perhaps we wouldn’t be able to speak openly about it here, for fear of meeting with similar repression from the geometic forces ranged against us.
We did, however, discover a mysterious mural in an underpass in Great Yarmouth, depicting a three-sided football pitch in the exact style of that constructed at West Ferry Gore. The mural was consequently détourned to make the providence of this illustration more readily apparent. Further, we subsequently set about playing an extensive game of triolectical football in the shadow of the North West Tower, until all the balls ended up in the river. We then enjoyed a few ales, a ramble on the beach and dreamtime on the train home. The adventure continues.
We are approaching a new model (situation) of class society where – proletarianised along the trimensions of space, time and class – strikers (i.e. destructive workers) are deprived of their power. This is exactly where three-sided football has much to teach.
Recent experiments in complexity vandalism saw moving goalposts (attached to bicyclic “fluxvehicles”) attempt to literally “stretch” the Greenwich Meridian. The aim was to trigger a quantum superpositional timeloop, catalysing a hypothesised collapse in imperialist spacetime.
As the moving goalpost modification demonstrates, even as strikers (destructive workers) are disempowered by global capital’s increasing ability to transcend the hemispheres, there occurs a simultaneous empowerment of both reproductive workers (goalkeepers) and psychic workers (three-sided football players and self-organisers generally). When their autonomy is realised, the goalkeepers (reproductive workers) can take entangled, self-organizational action, whilst the psychic workers, the ones who build up the situation, can facilitate such actions to take place. The moving goalposts (dead workers) thus offer timely (and spacey and classy) advice for further dérive (psychic workers union) transfigurations.
As three-sided football rewards the team who concedes the least, its natural rallying cry is “all power to the reproductive workers!” The contemporary game has begun to insufficiently reflect this however. By triolectically seizing and reconfiguring the goalposts (dead workers) themselves, we instantly facilitate an experimental tripling of reproductive workers’ relative power. We invite you to join in!
When: 3pm, 11th June 2016 [vulg.] (8 AP)
Where: New Cross Stadium (reopened, for one day only), Bridgehouse Meadows, SE15, (51.482131, -0.048773)
Who: This event is kindly supported by Strategic Optimism Football, Achademy of Practical Triolectics and Xenotopian Navigation, D3FC, New Cross Triangle Psychogeographical Association and Fedaration, and Internationale Autonome des Situlogistes Contemporaine. This event is part of the Antiuniversity Now festival,
9-12 June 2016, www.antiuniversity.org.