Try a game of triolectic football

Asger Jorn invented triolectic football to illustrate what happens when there are three opponents in a game rather than two.

As part of the exhibition Asger Jorn – Restless Rebel you could play a game of triolectic table football at the SMK – and see how having a third team on the field causes this familiar game to change completely.

Defensive victory

In triolectic football the playing field is hexagonal, and three teams are playing rather than two. The game was invented by Asger Jorn in the late 1950s – a period overshadowed by The Cold War with an antagonistic relationship between the two main powers of the world, the USA and the Soviet Union. Their hostile relationship could be compared to that of two football teams opposing each other on the field. Asger Jorn explained what it meant to the game to have three teams playing rather than two: 

"First of all you will soon discover that you cannot control which of the two attacking teams will shoot at your goal. It would become necessary to invert the rules so that the victory was a negative one, so that it was the team that had defended itself best and had let in the least goals that was the victor. The victory becomes defensive and not offensive […] therefore two-sided opponents are always aggressive, whilst three-sided ones are defensive."

Having a third power factor on the field lessens the aggressiveness of the game.

Played across the world – and now at the SMK, too

Today, triolectic football is played in Columbia, Ukraine, and Spain, where the major club Atletico Madrid has arranged a tournament featuring teams from the Spanish league. In connection with the exhibition the game also entered the SMK, allowing you to try out this reinterpretation of a familiar game yourself.

Model of a triolectic football field.

Model of a triolectic football field.

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Updated: 26.apr.2018
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