AUGUST 18-23 /// 2015 /// RUGPJŪČIO 18-23




Mark Dyson


The theme to this years exploration of 3sf at the biennale is Superposition/Superimposition. It is a very appropriate way of looking at three sided football for it requires us to look at 3sf not only as a game played by kicking a ball around a field – or a forest if you live in Lithuania – but as a game within the context of culture.

Three sided football has now been with us for 50 years – of which it is only the last 20 that have witnessed its experimental realisation. In true cybernetic fashion, the more it has been explored, the more the feedback from each game has allowed its arena of operation to expand.

Most of you probably know that three sided football was developed by Asger Jorn in 1962 - ostensibly as a metaphor for explaining how his theory of triolectics could be understood in a real world situation. In reality - three sided football was actually a deceptively simple way of conveying the complexities of his entire life’s work. My presentation at the conference on three sided football at least years World Cup in Silkeborg examined in detail the means by which 3sf managed to encapsulate Jorns thought - and I don’t propose to repeat it right now – but if anyone is interested I have it with me and would be delighted to present this again later in the biennale.

When it was picked up Fabian Tompsett in 1994 and the first game was actually PLAYED, three sided football was seen simply as a means of vitalising tedious debates on Anarchism into dynamic lived experiences. Today Three sided football is being played on an increasing basis around the world – with new and exiting possibilities for its understanding emerging at a startling rate.

So what I want to do today is to look at how three sided football operates as a multi layered transformative cultural morphology – shape shifting like a viscous flow through every arena into which it has been introduced. Like a hydra – three sided football has started growing exponentially with every iteration – each of which superimposes itself onto the original conception, enriching, complexifying, and diversifying. With the sum of every part being greater than the whole – the expansion and diversification of three sided football is starting to be understood as the means of its true expression.

So let us take a look at the various ways of understaning three sided that I know about – and after I have finished maybe you can help expand this collection with your own.

1.      testing out asger jorns hypotheis –

was it correct. Would playing 3sf be defensive and boring but ultimately lead to an explosion. Would the onset of the explosion result in a few hightened moments of spontaneous exaltation. From wnla in the 90’s onwards there has been a history in the UK of putting into practise the various therories of the SI – as so little in the documantation about them shows what happens. Jorns theory of triolectics is a notable example. Did Jorn mean this to be LIVED – was it really a set of suggestions for behaviour or an analysis of societal cureents.

2. Constructed situation

Because of the nature of this event – I probably don’t have to say too much about the Situationist project. But for those who are unfamiliar with SI ideas – here is very short intro. Essential to situationist theory is the concept of the spectacle, a unified critique of advanced capitalism of which a primary concern is the progressively increasing tendency towards the expression and mediation of social relations through objects.Situationists believe that the shift from individual expression through directly lived experiences, or the first-hand fulfillment of authentic desires, to individual expression by proxy through the exchange or consumption of commodities, or passive second-hand alienation, inflicts significant and far-reaching damage to the quality of human life for both individuals and society.A central concept of situationist theory is how this objectified alienation can be counteracted – and the principal means imagined is via the construction of situations, moments of life deliberately constructed for the purpose of reawakening and pursuing authentic desires, experiencing the feeling of life and adventure, and the liberation of everyday life.

For many players who approach 3sf through the filter of the SI a common reason is a belief that participation in the game involves the realisation of the Constructed Situataion - whether this be the localised play of the one off game – or in the production of a larger body of “work’ which then constitutes a more involved and complex evolution of the Constructed Situation. Like those who see 3sf as a testing of Jorns theory of triolectics - those focused more on the constructed situation also see their activities as a lived development of situationist praxis.