Three-Sided Football as Détournement


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The international art group Situationists International developed the Détournement as one of their critical art technique between the 1950-1970s.

In their anti-capitalistic „Manifesto“ from 1960 they call situations „games“ and demand from the people to change their daily behaviour or daily situations by playful  anti-capitalism and anti-consumption and society-critical actions, which will influence the mass and therefore change the system.

As Détournement has been defined elsewhere as “turning expressions of the traditional system and its media culture against itself” we can call the  Three-Sided Football a phenomen or technique of Détournement based on the theoretical background of Guy Debord.

Devised in 1962 by the Danish artist Asger Jorn  (1914-1973), this version of the beautiful game is an extension of his links to the Marxist-inspired Situationist movement. Jorn saw traditional football as a representation of the “us versus them” class struggle of the time and wanted to create an alternative which reflected the complexity of society and encouraged cooperation.

Three-Sided Football is based on Jorn’s notion of triolectics, his refinement on the Marxian concept of dialectics, as well as to disrupt one’s everyday idea of football. The Danish painter asger Jorn is probably the only artist who has attempted a ‘complete revision of the existing philosophical system’ from the standpoint of an artist.

asger jornThe game purports to deconstruct the confrontational and bi-polar nature of conventional football as an analogy of class struggle in which the referee stands as a signifier of the state and media apparatus, posturing as a neutral arbitrator in the political process of ongoing class struggle.”

From a perception of ‘thinking in threes’, Jorn developed what he called ‘triolectics’, where three ‘domains’ existed in a dialectical relationship with each other, a tri-dialectic, which sparked a flux of endless creative ideas, which could then be combined in further triolectics. The most well-known triolectic in Jorn’s system is ‘liberty-equality-fraternity’, and the spectator will identify at least two triple sets, the three sorts of humanism and the triad player-referee-spectator.

The first game ever realized worldwide was promoted by the London Psychogeographical Association (LPA) in 1993. During the 1990s, the Luther Blissett collective in Italy started organising occasional games. Since then it was various played by the English team “Philosophy Football FC” from the UK.

04_still from the trailer

On Saturday, September 14th 2013, InEnArt proudly presented the first ever historical Three-Sided Football match in Turkey in the frame of parallel events of the 13th Istanbul Biennial and following the protests in Trukey.

The three participating teams were the English squad Philosophy Football FC, the German squad Dyanamo Windrad from Kassel and the Turkish squad Ayazma Football Club from Istanbul.

After three thrilling thirty-minute “thirds” the winner was appointed: the english team Philosphy Football FC with a score of 5 (Philosophy Football FC): 6 (Dynamo Windrad): 10 (Ayazma Football Club).


More Infos:

About Three-Sided Football

About Luther Blissett

About Asgar Jorn



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