They think it’s all over… it is then!

Bilan:

Six years ago, in sixth year of the Proletarian Calendar [2013 Vulg.], Strategic Optimism Football club was formed in London. It was created by former members of the nomadic invisible college, the University for Strategic Optimism as a vehicle for its own self-abolition. The UfSO had been a revolutionary tendency within the UK student movement, instrumental in various conflicts with the State and Capital around 3-6PC [2010-13 vulg.]. It is remembered for its part in the storming of the Tory party HQ, of Lewisham Town Hall, the Battle of Parliament Square, etc, as well as triggering a series of viral bank occupations that in turn lit the touch paper for the Indignados and Occupy Movements. However, as a result of this fame, UfSO grew tired of fending of speaking invitations from ‘radical’ art and political organisations, increasingly finding itself recuperated by cultural institutions, from the Museum of London to the fashion supplement of the NY Times – basically anywhere ‘radical chic’ could bump up the sales figures.

The UfSO had only its time. By 6PC [2013 vulg.] the movement of which it was one of the more advanced practical-theoretical elements had dissipated and disintegrated. Even just one year after its founding, the major part of the UfSO’s energy and resources had been diverted into the Occupy movement and the UK and global struggles of 3-4PC [2011 vulg.] more broadly. One can see that in hindsight, this loss of practical coherence manifested in the UfSO’s descent into abstract theorising, resulting in internal wrangling and splits within the group. Internal sexual tumult, along with drug and alcohol addictions played their part, like they do in all good stories, but it was ultimately a political decomposition that brought about an end to the UfSO’s more radical phase of operations. From 6PC [2012 vulg.] on, its direct actions more or less ceased, it became solely an abstract venue for thinking and writing – in short it became another off-shoot of academia. The UfSO’s radicality had always inhered in its praxis, in its practical critique of the university as an institution and the class relations that produce it. Without this praxis it was nothing. After a year or so of attempting to regroup, and thinking through the slow disintegration of the ‘2011 moment’, the remaining faculty of the UfSO decided that a continuing programme of practical critique had become impossible – it had never wished to become an avant-garde without a movement. For a short while the UfSO then turned to thinking through and attempting to put across the insights that it had gained into the nature of radical pedagogy. When it became clear it had said all it had to say on the matter, and that such a project could more effectively be pursued through other groups, the last remaining participants took the decision to dissolve the UfSO as an active organisation.

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Tory Party HQ at Milbank Occupied in 3PC [2010 vulg.]
In order to do so, it was necessary to put the ‘legacy’ of the UfSO beyond reach of the would-be cultural assassins and profiteers of the worlds of art and politics. For that, what was needed was their practical supersession, something that was to be found in the collective game of three-sided football. Three-sided football was chosen because, truly, it has no author, it is and always was collectively elaborated. It was chosen because it has always remained continually in a state of triolectical incoherence and experiment – as a really existing movement. Most importantly, it was chosen as it extended the practical critique of capitalist social relations that the UfSO had, at its peak, embodied

So it was that in 6PC [2013 vulg.], the UfSO announced its auto-dissolution, but simultaneously the formation of a new triolectical football team; Strategic Optimism Football (SOF) was born. Declaring that it was triolectically inverting Marcel Duchamp’s well-known gesture of “definitively abandoning” art in favour of chess. In their case, the UfSO gave up art and politics, in order to play 3SF: the realisation and suppression of football. However, SOF’s first game was played under the banner of an international day of action against a neo-imperialist corporate land grab in the Roșia Montană region of Transylvania, rather casting doubt on this possibility from day one. Incidentally, it is a little-known fact that it was from this very game that one of three-sided football’s infamous tactical dissimulations, the so-called “Rosia’s (Triple) Cross”, obtained its name.

‘The Optimists’ went on to play in a multi-coloured kit, derived from a triolectical collision of industrial painting, occult magick and sploshing. It was created by footballing sex workers during a drug-fuelled industrial sploshing session-cum-ritual on Halloween, one month after the club’s formation. Its colourful patterning served to both dazzle the opposition(s), whilst simultaneously – triolectically – camouflaging its bearers as they snuck up on goal.

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Strategising patapositional n-dimensional gameplay, Alytus Psychic Strike Biennale, Lithuania, August 2015

This was ‘the Optimists’ ‘amplic phase’, a three-year period during which they set about attempting to grow the activity of three-sided football on a global scale. During this phase they achieved notable successes, taking part in the [2014 vulg.] 1th Three-Sided football World Cup, in Silkeborg, Denmark, hosted by Museum Jorn, and through this making contact with existing 3SF organisations internationally. They then went on to contest the Luther Blissett Deptford Three-Sided Football League in the 6, 7 and 8PC seasons [2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 vulg.], culminating in winning the league on the primary “yellow”, or “aesthetic”, matrix in the 8PC [2015-16 vulg.] season.

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The 1th Triolectical World Cup Programme

During this period SOF established a number of further contacts within the international proletarian movement, travelling to Alytus, Lithuania in 8PC to join up with the union of data miners and psychic workers, initiating a programme for the triolectical unwinding of Europe, along the principles of Revolutionary Animism as advanced to the meeting by veteran triolectician Ben Morea. This was put into action that very autumn with the ritual unbinding of the Omphalos of the British Empire, resulting in wild and fluctuating unravellings across the Atlantic axis, as the Northwest Passage pulled free of its psychogeographical moorings. Some have attributed the political turmoil that followed on both sides of the Atlantic to the working through of these events. The following spring, the triple Fluxfootballum Equinoxfest in London, Amsterdam and Carrara saw three-sided football attained new strategic importance within the proletarian struggle, as teams from across space and time convened to herald the new multidirectional struggle.

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Moving the Goalposts, 3-Sided Football Match, Greenwich Observatory, intervening in the imperial control of time and space. Goals fixed to bikes, continuously changing location, rotating across the meridian, uniting east with west in a spiral motion – the onset of Jorn’s complexity vandalism.

Having attained this high point, Strategic Optimism Football reached the resounding culmination of its three-year “amplic” phase. In doing so, it promptly peaked, entering a final, three-year “chiselling” phase, set to culminate in 12 PC [2019 vulg]. The ease with which the team had achieved its sweeping successes across both domestic and international arenas, along with the burgeoning worldwide expansion of three-sided football across sporting, artistic, scientific, philosophical and occult circles had been pronounced. As a result, SOF’s players grew so indifferent and bored of the game’s competitive iterations they decided to eliminate one element of their existence every day, right up to and including the team’s complete dissolution on July 31st/August 30th 12 PC, [2019 vulg]. Approached for comment, SOF’s team-mandated instantly revocable head coach famously stated: “While everyone is now trying to get into three-sided football, we’re doing our best to get out of it.”

This momentous decision was announced on the day of the team’s third anniversary, coinciding as it did with a rare “Black Moon” in Scorpio and the regular monthly meeting of Deptford’s Luther Blissett Three-Sided Football League. From here on, the chiselling phase commenced, to culminate in the return of the Black Moon in 33 months, or three years, time, in 12PC [2019 vulg]. Following the Kabbalistic system first codified in Botoșani, Moldova in the 1940s (vulg.), by the second coming of the Letterist messiah Isidore Isou, the dawning of this Black Moon would mark the climax of Strategic Optimism’s Nine Year Plan and the heralding of the new era of Proletarian Animism.

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Isou’s System

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 in equal parts via the Egyptian hermetic orders and the Black Celt seafarers, with their megalithic architecture. 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”. His real innovation was in recognising the roots of this system in attempts to reconcile the gnostic dualism of the masculinist Solar Calendar with the polyvalence of the Lunar Calendar’s triple goddess. This unified system was labelled by the ancients ‘squaring the circle’, but is better known to three-sided footballers today as ‘casting the hex’. It is this which is revealed by reactionary occultist Alistair Crowley in his Book of Lies (Liber 333, chapter 36, the laying of the ‘Star Sapphire’).

The University for Strategic Optimism was the thirty-third in a long line of “Invisible Colleges”, including amongst others, the Royal Society, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Alex Trocchi’s Project Sigma. Indeed, it was from Cleopatra’s looted Needle, on London’s Embankment, that the UfSO succeeded in sparking that wave of riots and strikes that spread across Europe and beyond in 3-4PC [2010-11 vulg.], eventually only being pacified through the harmless Bakuninist diversions of “Occupy”. On its three-year anniversary UfSO dissolved and reformed as Strategic Optimism Football. In turn, on SOF’s own three-year anniversary, coinciding, as stated, with the Black Moon (and not coincidentally, a minor stock market crash), Strategic Optimism Football entered the third phase of their Nine Year Plan.

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SOF Chiselling Phase Auto-Destructive Kit

SOF’s chiselling phase entailed a change of kit, from the vibrant colours of amplic sploshing, to the darker shades of an auto-destructive array, ritually ‘chiselled’ from existing shirts during a raging storm in the dark of the Black Moon. This was an inversion inspired by the auto-destructive paintings of renowned striker Gustav Metzger, with the shirts thus painted, splattered and dunked with a specially mixed brew of bleach and sulphuric acid during what was 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.

This phase was also marked by its own startling successes for the team as it strove, rather than for the development and expansion of the game, instead for its destruction and rebirth in the form of direct proletarian animist struggle. This process began at the 1th Three-Sided Football World Cup in Kassel, Germany, 10PC [2017 vulg. – sometimes referred to by certain reactionary parties as the ‘2nd’ world cup]. In the run-up to the tournament SOF had entered a large number of one-person associations as teams, representing various psychogeographical allegiances. As a result it was able to commandeer the structure of the tournament for its own ends, diverting it into triolectical auto-dissolution.

Discussions regarding whether to even attend the Kassel World Cup had already triggered a split within DAMTP, into a political faction, an aesthetic faction, and a sports faction, as the triolectical coalition began to crack into specialism in the face of capitalist confrontation. Lunatic Fringe for Triolectics (LUFT-DAMTP) attended Kassel in an attempt to divert the game from further specialisation. Conflict arose, however, owing to the tournament taking place simultaneous to the capitalist art spectacle of Documenta. The political faction argued that DAMTP should act in the way workers‘ organisations do, or 3SF and DAMTP would be recuperated by Documenta. The only way to act against this, they claimed, was to fight the spectacle from outside the Kassel – in Athens, Alytus or some other place (a position supported by DAMTP’s German factions: OKK, Polaris, and by the British faction CLASS). They further held that asemic writing activities should take precedence against 3SF. LUFT-DAMTP instead sought to game the system to escape ‘binarisation’ of 3SF into cultural activity and its resistive opposite. This was tempered however, by the aesthetic faction, for whom participation in artistic activities could be justified as a form of disruptive direct action. There was thus a split between the intent to destroy both Documenta and the World Cup, and to triolecticise them, by moving the goalposts.

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1th Three-Sided World Cup, Kassel, Germany, 10PC [2017 vulg.]
ABRACADABRA (Alytus Biennial Reversion into Abolition of Culture And Distribution of its Aberrant Bacillus Right Abroad – Committee) initiated a discussion concerning necessity of a space for meeting local unorganised workers – as DAMTP had in its constitution. The room was arranged in a room of the local Art Academy near the Central railway station, coincidentally an official Documenta venue. The anti-Documenta political faction insisting on meeting organised workers and activists there, in order to plot an attack the festival. However, nobody (including the initiator) showed up. Nevertheless, the event, as the only programmed ‘3SF’ event in a Documenta venue, did ironically become the group’s only official participation in the festival.

Meanwhile, whilst these political and artistic factions split the DAMTP movement under SOF’s watchful eye, their plan to enter polyvalent multiple-use teams into the World Cup was a further great success, disintegrating the tournament’s competitive structure from within, and opening the teams beyond borders, for the refugee comrades who joined the event to play without specialism, without reduction and without restriction to a ‘token’ ‘refugee team’; the attempted concealment of the tournament’s Eurocentrism. The World Cup itself was ultimately itself directly destroyed by a comrade from the political faction, in an unsanctioned symbolic attack. However, the event was more successfully triolectically dissolved into a series of experimental games in the streets, via the actions of the SOF-NXTPA-FIASCo alliance, resulting in in a victory that was simultaneously a defeat, and thus went beyond the binaries of participation or opposition. Furthermore, and as a knock-on effect, even Documenta itself was successfully destroyed in the process (albeit temporarily) filing for bankruptcy in the immediate aftermath of these disruptive actions.

Further chiseling and dissolutions followed. In 10AP [2018 vulg.] a group of reactionary football specialists unilaterally announced an ‘Alternative Three-Sided Football World Cup’ in Madrid. In response, an alliance between SOF and ABRACADABRA (ABRACADAVAR) succeeded in forcing the tournament’s cancelation and its reduction to a restaged farce, to be held in hiding, behind closed doors, thus revealing it for the ‘Beti Jai’ fascist coup it was! Meanwhile, the true game of 3SF played out over email and in the streets, with the reactionary organisers imploding under the pressure of announced strikes and pickets by SOF. The result was a definitive split in the International Three-Sided Football Federation, between the neo-Stalinist faction represented by Philosophy Football and Dynamo Windrad and the triolecticians of SOF, ABRACADAVAR and Richard ‘Spartacus’ Essex.

 

Beyond to these international assaults, SOF’s agitations on the domestic front extended apace. The foundations had been laid years earlier, in a text critiquing the instantiation of a competitive league system in the LBDTSFL, but now the time had come for the disruptions to reach fruition. Through a series of maneuvers amongst competing teams, SOF managed to sow sufficient discord that the very competitive league system itself was forced to vote for its own abolition at the culmination of the 10-11PC [2017-18 vulg.] season, reverting to a programme of regular friendlies instead. Ironically, SOF then went on to win this season, even with only one player turning up to the final game, thus showing the whole affair for the farce that it was. Meanwhile SOF activities in the Invisible League continued sporadically, sufficient to build a coalition to threaten the attempted staging of a 12PC World Cup in London, the results of which have yet to play out.

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The Black Moon Returns

The ultimate result of these agitations was the gradual disintegration of the Deptford ‘league’ itself; no longer compelled by team discipline, players began to drift away and the matches started dwindle. Indeed, such was the success of this operation that the SOF team itself dissolved completely and to all intents and purposes ceased to exist in all but name. Ironically, the only thing keeping it from totally disappearing at this point was its own former promise to auto-dissolve at the awaited return of the Black Moon! The final game of the 10-11PC [2018-19 vulg.] cemented the ultimate success of this strategy, seeing a grand total of one player turn up! Simultaneously however, reactionary forces within the former New Cross Irregulars camp conspired to take the game into the official auspices of the Tate, thus ensuring its complete destruction and replacement with a caricature, a pitifully mummified cultural commodity.

Thus on 31st July 12PC [2019 vulg.] the destined day of SOF’s self-abolition arrived – the culmination of the UfSO, the amplic and the chiselling phases, overseen by the 33-month return of the Black Moon. In the annual rotunda – the three-sided game of earth, moon and sun – each of the four elemental seasons gives birth to three new moons. Every 33 months or so, they sire a Black Moon, a seer who walks in the shadows between them, itself a ghostly image of the great 33 year solar-lunar marriage dance, or the 32 letters of the Persian alphabet, plus the special letter of Fazallah Astarabadi. With the dawning of the Black Moon, in the 12th year of the Age of the Proletariat, Strategic Optimism’s Nine Year Plan reaches the end of its 3rd and final phase. The unending cycle of the Three Rotations is complete, the cosmic game begins again!

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Letterist Peregrammaration, Botonsani – Alinja, 12 PC

Due to discrepancies in Time Zones however, the announced self-abolition of SOF was for the purposes of their social media and blog followers only, owing to servers operating on EST. Their true self-abolition in fact would only happen a month later in Europe, following a month inhabiting an intercalary limbo between worlds, on a pilgrimage to bring to an end the Age of Divinity (from Botosani, Romania, Letterist prophet Isidore Isou’s birthplace, to Letterism’s own wellspring, Fazlallah Al-Hurufi’s death place and mausoleum, in Azerbaijan). Therefore, the final self-abolition of SOF takes place at the culmination of their 33-day Letterist pilgrimage and real moving world cup, begun on Proletarian New Year, 28th July, marking the death of Isou, and ending beyond the shrine of Fazalallah, the final resting place of the Age of Divinity. This final culmination will thus in fact take place during the evening of Black Moon, on 30th Aug 12 PC [2019 vulg.].

With each of the three phases, like the three rotations of a great game of three-sided football, having now achieved its goals, we leave it to the international movement of Proletarian Animists to construct a new world from our ashes. Let the 1th game begin!

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The 24th Thermidor of ‘Sir’ Henry Tate

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GO TO HELL BASTARD—STOP—REFUSE PRIZE—STOP—NEVER ASKED FOR IT—STOP—AGAINST ALL DECENCY MIX ARTIST AGAINST HIS WILL IN YOUR PUBLICITY—STOP—I WANT PUBLIC CONFIRMATION NOT TO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN YOUR RIDICULOUS GAME – Asger Jorn.

The Wages of Tate’s Exchange Value:

On the 24th Thermidor CCXXVII* certain individuals tenuously linked to three-sided football are set to sell out their sometime revolutionary passtime in exchange for the apparent compensation of an afternoon spent ‘exploring the relationship between art, football and identity’. They will do so at that marketplace of cultural imperialism, Tate Modern, London. Paltry wages, but valuable cultural capital, no doubt! For the “first time ever”, three-sided football will echo approvingly around the hallowed halls of this art world powerhouse, squeezed into an artistic straightjacket and served up steaming; one more easily digestible morsel for gluttons of the global culture industry.

So fixated are these alleged ‘three-sided footballers’ in their mission to finally tame the triple-headed beast however, they appear to have overlooked one important fact: their pitiful efforts simply amount to the historical re-enactment of an event that has already taken place, an event that was itself already only a repetition of its own non-existence! We refer, of course, to the by now infamous three-sided ‘Exorcism of Serious Culture and White Supremacy’, held unannounced and uninvited on Thursday 24th March, 8PC [2016 vulg.] at Tate Modern, London.

During that unsolicited zone of proletarian development, the assembled psychic workers managed to successfully stall Tate Modern’s security, via a process of continual deferral up the institution’s dizzying chain of command, long enough for a fifteen-minute game of three-sided football to take place, in the meantime. Eventually the players were ejected, with the insistence that they must email to request permission for such activities. The following day they obligingly emailed Tate for a permit; asked when they might like to play, they simply responded ‘yesterday’. In this sense the game of three-sided football has already unfolded, across several dimensions at once, within, against and beyond the very bureaucratic apparatus that Tate uses to enforce its role in the psychic reproduction of capitalist imperialism.

Given this, it is hardly surprising that the forthcoming imitation of this non-event has clearly been scheduled to avoid the inevitable pickets and sabotage that would have inevitably unfolded, had this witless restaging not been precisely timed to coincide with the long predestined psychic workers pilgrimage, from the later-day birthplace of Letterism (Botosani, Romania) to the former-day deathplace of Letterism (Alinja, Azebaijan).

At first it seems as if Tate could have picked this date at random, that is if one is willing to grant that the evocation of Thermidor is purely accidental, given its status as a byword for reactionary recapitulation! However, when one realises the truth, it becomes clear that their selection was even more brazen! In fact, it appears likely that the date was chosen due to an incompetent conversion between the Republican and Gregorian Calendars, probably conducted by these artist-footballers’ American handlers. Accidentally using the US system, which places month before day, one would be left with ‘8/11/2019’. Mistakenly entering this – 8th of November, 2019 – into a simple date conversion calculator would thus deliver a Republican Calendar date for this act of historical repetition of none other than the 18th Brumaire! They mock us with their arrogance, in equal measure their incompetence!

This naked and underhanded attempt by Tate and their spineless accomplices to avoid the crucial political scrutiny their recuperative mission demands, whilst at the same time mocking those who might challenge them, can only be taken for the act of craven cowardice it so plainly is. Those who would hide behind moving goalposts would do well to examine their history; sooner or later, it will catch up with them!

What follows is a critique of this whole sordid affair, as penned by Strategic Optimism Football, in July, 12PC. It calls upon all psychic workers who are able, and not otherwise engaged in pilgrimage-related activities, to descend upon Tate, and to use their picket of these shame-faced shenanigans to open yet one more wormhole in the creaking and increasingly threadbare façade of capitalist culture!

1th as Tragedy, 1th as Farce

Asger Jorn remarked somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, three times. He did not, however, forget to add that they do so, not sequentially, but simultaneously: the 1th time, as the 1th time, as the 1th – with any subsequent numerology betraying a tragic, and indeed farcical inability to count! Yet now, ‘Cultural Capitalisers’ are piled upon ‘Psychic Workers’; explorations of ‘the relationship between art, football and identity’ drown out the ‘Triolectical Exorcism of Serious Culture and White Supremacy’; the three-sided jail cell of 12PC [2019 vulg.] replaces the triolectical emancipation of 8PC [2016 vulg.]. This is the caricature that occurs now, in the latest edition of Sir Henry Tate’s footballing forays.

Destructive Workers and Productive Workers may well make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, nurtured by Reproductive Workers and cultured by Psychic Workers. The labour of all Living and Dead Workers uplifts the dreams of the Living and the reveries of the Dead. And just as the Destructive and Productive Workers seem to be occupied with revolutionising themselves and things, imagining themselves to be creating something that did not exist before, ex nihilo, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they are forced to turn back to the ‘revolutionary animism’ they might otherwise deny, anxiously conjuring up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this ‘new’ scene in world history in time-honoured disguise and borrowed language.

Thus Luther put on the mask of the Apostle Paul, every four years England’s footballers cloak themselves in the mantels of 1966 – and 1918, and 1945 -; the Revolution of 1789-1814 draped itself alternately in the guise of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire; the Revolution of 1848 knew nothing better to do than to parody, now 1789, now the revolutionary tradition of 1793-95. In like manner, the beginner who has learned a new language always translates it back into their mother tongue, but they assimilate the spirit of the new language and expresses themselves freely in it only when they move it into superposition with the old. They do not forget their native tongue, rather translations and transliterations open new, superpositional timelines. The Hurufis teach that all language stems from a metalanguage of existence and that the pansemic letters of this langauge, once pronounced, can be read by any in possession of this knowledge, in, for and beyond a given tongue. What they omitted to add is that this is what is generally referred to as ‘common sense’, in other words, immanent world community.

When we think about this conjuring up of the dead in art history, a salient difference reveals itself. In 8PC those workers whose psychic strike attempted to exorcise the Tate’s cathedral – built and reproduced on slave wealth and wage slavery – performed the task of their time, preceding times and times to come: the task of reaching across time towards the living and dead critique of modern bourgeois society. To exorcise the Tate of its imperialist spirit, its ghosts need to be exercised. In reproductive resurrections of Neoist costumes, themselves replete with a psychic necromancy of Situtionist and Fluxus phrases, these psychic workers echoed the battle cries of Dada and Surrealism. They were the joke upon the serious farce of an avant-garde tragedy, exorcising the ‘new spirit of capitalism’ by resurrecting the living and dancing with the dead.

The first avant-gardes had destroyed art’s feudal foundation and cut off the feudal heads that had grown on it. At the same time, they created inside the Art World the only conditions under which free competition could be developed, parcelled-out patronage properly used, and the unfettered productive power of the ‘Cultural Industries’ employed; and beyond the Art World this helped sweep away feudal institutions everywhere, to provide, as far as necessary, bourgeois society with an appropriately up-to-date environment through which to reproduce itself. Once the new social formation was established, the antediluvian colossi disappeared and with them also the resurrected Avant-Gardism– the Situationists and Fluxus, Isidore Isou himself. Bourgeois society in its sober reality bred its own true interpreters and spokesmen, from the former Milbank Prison, to the auction houses of the super-rich; its real military leaders sat behind the office desk and hog-headed Mr Moneybags was its political chief. Entirely absorbed in the production of wealth and in peaceful competitive struggle, it no longer remembered that the ghosts of the Avant-Garde had watched over its cradle.

‘Hero-worshiping’ though bourgeois art is, it naturally needed anti-heros – Dada, Surrealism, Situationists, Fluxus – to bring itself into being. And in the austere classical traditions of the Avant-Garde, the bourgeois gladiators found the ideals and the forms, the self-deceptions, that they needed to conceal from themselves the bourgeois-limited content of their struggles and to keep their passion on the high plane of great historic tragedy. Similarly, at another stage of development a few centuries earlier, Cromwell and the English people had borrowed from the Old Testament the speech, emotions, and illusions for their bourgeois revolution. When the real goal had been achieved and the bourgeois transformation of English society had been accomplished, Locke supplanted Habakkuk.

Thus the awakening of the dead in those revolutions served the purpose of glorifying the new struggles by parodying the old; of magnifying the real task in the imagination, by manifesting its non-existence in reality; of finding once more the spirit of revolution, by making its ghosts walk again. The Psychic Workers’ exorcism of Henry Tate’s temple of Serious Culture was thus not the only time the ghosts of the ancestors have joined the living in struggle, however, this time the struggle was to be conducted from a position of solidarity, not instrumentalisation: the Dead and the Living workers united against the dead-life of capital, that would frieze our living and dead labours into its own cruel circuit of suspended animation. If it denies us our birth-rites to truly live, does it not simultaneously deny us our death-rites to truly die? Living and Dead workers, of this world and the next, unite! You have nothing to lose but your graves!

In 12 PC, however, these ancestral ghosts of the old revolution have been sent packing. Repackaged up into the commodity prisons they are condemned to haunt, they confront us as the dead labour of serious culture, forever recycled in the undeath spiral of capital’s accelerating dans macabre. Three-sided footballers, so long as they were engaged in fixed rotations, that is to say the bourgeois specialisation of sport, have not been able get rid of the memory of that other reproductive specialisation, art, as the proposed events at Tate prove. They long to return from the perils of revolution to the fleshpots of the football pitch and the holy halls of culture. The valuable marketplace of ‘Tate Exchange’, on 24th Thermidor, is their answer. Now they have not only a caricature of sport and art, but sport and art themselves, caricatured as they would have to be in the year 12PC [2019 vulg].

As psychic workers, we want the new in so far as it is old; that is its removal from Capital’s ceaseless overthrow of all existing conditions. Permanent Revolution is what it is – and, being permanently impermanent, also what it is not – precisely because to revolve means to turn on the spot. This is the true definition of a geometrical point, which so escaped Euclid, but which was perceptively revealed by Jorn’s Situlogical investigations. Backwards and forwards are relative concepts; they only exist, as Jorn noted, relative to a point of view. Clockwise refers only to the cycle of the sun, but the heliocentric revolution of the Hermeticists needs to now be decentred, not least for its Eurocentric and Transcendental preoccupations. If time is entropy, then it can only be observed from the neg-entropic viewpoint of a living organism, that’s the point, which is to say, it must also be dialectical. Further, since entropic time simply describes a relationship, and not a thing in itself, it can only exist relative to something, in this case the neg-entropic observer, itself only a constellation of its relations, in time. As such, time is simply a triolectical fact of life, as much as life is a temporal fact, but history is also a product of matter, as much as matter is a product of history, which actually matters, when discussing history, indeed her-story, their-story, or stories in general – of which very little can be said, if they even exist.

The social revolution of the 1th Century cannot take its games simply from the present, but also from the future and the past, simultaneously. It cannot end with itself before it has made a new superposition of all the superstitions of the past. Former revolutions required recollections of past world history in order to animate their own content. The revolution of the 1th Century will see the self-emancipation of the dead from burying themselves, in order to arrive at its own content. There the phrase went beyond the content – here the content is letterist, it is itself the phrase.

Society now needs to retreat to behind its starting point; in truth, it has first to reproduce from itself the revolutionary point of departure – the situation, the relations, the conditions under which alone all past revolution becomes farcical. Bourgeois revolutions, like those of the avant-garde, storm more swiftly from success to success, their dramatic effects outdo each other, men and things seem set in sparkling diamonds, ecstasy is the order of the day – but they are short-lived, soon they have reached their zenith, and a long hangover takes hold of society before it learns to assimilate the results of its stormy period soberly.

On the other hand, proletarian revolutions, of all centuries, constantly criticise themselves, constantly interrupt themselves in their own course, return to the apparently accomplished, in order to begin anew; they superpose the cumulative the half-measures, weaknesses, and paltriness of their first attempts, seem to throw down their obstacles only so the latter may draw new strength from the earth and rise before them again more gigantic than ever, recoil constantly from the indefinite and triplicate nature of their goals – until a situation is created which makes all turning back impossible, and the conditions themselves call out: Here is the field, here play!

– Strategic Optimism Football, 13 Messidor CCXXVII

*  That is to say 9th Dhu al-Hijjah, 1440, in the Islamic Caldendar, the 11th August, 2019, in the Imperial Calendar, or year 12 of the Proletarian Calendar.

Anni-Loony-Versary

black moon

Five years ago today Strategic Optimism Football club was formed. Since then we’ve been working assiduously for our own self-abolition. Just a few short months to go until we will abolish ourselves completely with the 33 month return of the Black Moon, on 31/7/19 [vulg.]!

In the annual rotunda, the three-sided game of earth, moon and sun, each of the four seasons – of the four elements air, earth, fire and water – gives birth to three new moons. Every 33 months or so, they sire a Black Moon, a transcendent seer, who walks in the shadows between seasons, itself a ghostly image of the great 33 year solar-lunar marriage dance.

With the dawning of the 2019 [vulg.] Black Moon, in the 12th year of the Age of the Proletariat, Strategic Optimism’s Nine Year Plan reaches the end of its 3rd and final phase. The unending cycle of the Three Rotations is complete, the cosmic great game begins again!

[Note: Due to discrepancies in Time Zones, the above announced self-abolition of SOF is for the purposes of our social media and blog followers only, owing to servers operating on EST. Our true self-abolition will in fact happen a month later in the UK, following a month inhabiting the limbo between worlds, on a pilgrimage to bring to an end the Age of Divinity (from Botosani, Romania, Letterist prophet Isidor Isou’s birthplace, to Letterism’s own wellspring, Fazlallah Al-Hurufi’s death place and mausoleum, in Azerbaijan). The final self-abolition will therefore take place on the evening of 30 Aug, BST!]

SOF Statement in Response to Circulated Proposals Calling for a 3SF ’25th Anniversary’ Match, Summer 2018 [vulg.]

Even by the standards of conventional historification, calendars and the like, the so-called anniversary of the ‘1st’ game of 3SF is a sham, for three reasons:
1) We do not recognise the concept of ‘1st’. Any such game would already have been the 1th. That’s not our assertion, take it up any theorist of quantum gravity worth their proverbial salt.
2) The farcical concept of this 25 year anniversary relies on a discredited solar calendar that is founded in the ideological separation of sky, earth and moon wrought by the division of labour which arose from the introduction of surpluses through settled agriculture and the attendant emergence of a hierarchical class society. Matrilinear and non-European societies by no means universally share such a blind devotion to sun gods. Ultimately this anniversary is a Eurocentric, hetero-patriarchal – and since the standardisation of the working day – capitalist imposition. Have the Islamic or Chinese calendars even been considered, for example? Furthermore, ’25’ has no real significance, save marking a quarter of a century, itself a arbitrary byproduct of our ten-fingered, base-10 normativity. Whilst the earth may indeed circle the sun, heliocentrism is no basis for revolution.
3) Aside the fact that 3SF has been played in some form for centuries (look into Jorn’s research on early nordic games with PV Glob, of which his Naturens Orden and its theory of triolectics formed part), propositions to mark this anniversary appear to have been led astray by a certain wikipedia article. Other sources strongly suggest that there was in fact no game of 3SF at the ‘Glasgow Anarchists’ Summer School’, 1993. You’re confusing it with the ‘Glasgow Architects’ Winter School’, which was held 6 months later (Jan ’94), and in which 3SF featured prominently. Thus even putting aside all of the above, the proposed date would mark a 24.5 year anniversary at best.
If we are to mark any solar anniversary, our alternative proposal would be to wait for the 33rd, given that is the length of time it takes for the lunar and solar calendars to return to alignment.
If three-sided footballers are mobilising internationally this summer, wonderful. However, we suggest that a decentring of the so-called ‘world cup’ might be a better reason to co-ordinate our activities, making it a truly ‘world’ event, rather than marking some fictitious anniversary in order to bolster foundational (and thus potentially nationalist) mythologies, which only serve to fix a collective game to a single unitary origin in time and space.

The Invisible League – 10AP Season Kicks Off!

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.

 

Three-Sided Football, From the Palaeolithic to the Present

Our long-term friend and collaborator Eric Scorehill has written this great article on everyone’s favourite three-sided sport for online journal The People’s Game (https://peoplesgame.co.uk/articles/making-sense/). We reproduce it here with Eric’s kind permission.

Three-Sided Football, from the Palaeolithic to the Present

by Eric Scorehill

“Lunatic researches are akin to unforeseen discoveries. The role of the nonexistent exists; the function of the imaginary is real […] It seems then that the history of the mind can be resumed in these terms: it is absurd by what it seeks, great by what it finds” – Paul Valéry.1

 

Just imagine for a moment, a game of football played out between three teams, rather than two. How would scoring work? Would this game be collaborative, competitive, or both? What shape would the pitch be? Would this game also take on a novel dynamic, a strange and peculiar rhythm of its own? Could it ever catch on?

In fact, such a game exists, with new leagues springing up around the world, from Belarus to Bogot., Melbourne to Malawi, Borneo to Bilbao. Played by three teams, between three goals, usually on a hexagonal pitch, three-sided football (3SF) presents a unique, transformative reworking of traditional football’s binary logic. According to its provisional codification, stemming from the game’s 1990s re-discovery, there are only three rules: Firstly, naturally, there are three teams. Secondly, victory falls to the team who concedes the fewest, rather than scores the most. Thirdly, finally, the ball must be round.

With 3SF however, things are rarely so straightforward. Games frequently take a turn for the unexpected and even this minimal basis enjoys (ir)regular diversions. Each game is not only a contest, but also a negotiation, of strategy and subterfuge. Traditional ball skills become entangled with an intuition for the game’s grammar and logic, plus the requisite rhetorical dexterity to convince one’s opponents to abandon an attack and turn on each other instead. For this 3SF has sometimes been spun as a collision of conventional football, chess and poker. Weaving collaboration and betrayal into the competitive fabric of two-sided sports, teams make and break alliances through dizzying tactical twists.

The following sketch will unpick 3SF’s disputed beginnings, themselves no less labyrinthine, as well as examining some deeper questions the game throws up. This is no easy task. Key source on 3SF, The Book of Deptford (nd.), records no less than twenty-three varying interpretations of the game.2 These range widely, from those suggesting 3SF represents the folkloric survival of early forms of ritualised social bonding, to others regarding it as a purely modern invention: an experimental analogy, devised for modelling aspects of contemporary physics. Explanations for 3SF’s emergence range from the philosophical to the conspiratorial, yet perhaps the least plausible are those that dismiss it as simply an “art” intervention. Though widespread, these theories are a rather late interpolation; no evidence exists for the game having featured in artistic contexts prior to 2006.3 The recent coincidental occurrence of the 3SF World Cup in Kassel, Germany, simultaneous to the town’s famous arts festival, was therefore just that, a coincidence. Most three-sided footballers in attendance were far more interested in the town’s historic role in propagating the Rosicrucian movement, arguably something much more integral to the game’s development.4 Similarly, owing to misconceptions that place 3SF’s origins in the 1960s, with the work of Asger Jorn, a well-known Danish artist and member of the avant-garde Situationist International, the game has further come to be associated with that limited sphere of activity.5

Continue reading “Three-Sided Football, From the Palaeolithic to the Present”

North Woolwich, July 23rd – Triolectics at the Royal British Legion?

Three-Sided Football in Silvertown, 23rd July, between the Royal British Legion, local kids and the resurrected Tate FC

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.

Three-Sided Football in Silvertown, 23rd July, between the Royal British Legion, local kids and the resurrected Tate FC

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.

Preparing for Three-Sided Football in Silvertown, 23rd July, between the Royal British Legion, local kids and the resurrected Tate FC

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.

Three-Sided Football in Silvertown, 23rd July, between the Royal British Legion, local kids and the resurrected Tate FC

 

Recent interview with SOF for BA In-flight magazine

ba-highlife

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:

Dear Ollie,

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.

Anyway,

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).

The Construction of a Cyclotron Accelerator in an abandoned school, Dreverna, Lithuania (2017 vulg.). Built to harness the planetary conjunction of Earth, Ceres and Mercury.

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.