Spanning 75 years with the Golden Gate Bridge; female mountain guides climb the ranks in Nepal; L.A. drivers debut a symphony for horns; getting a kick out of three-sided soccer in Bilbao
With a hexagonal soccer field spread out before him, Rafael Alkorta eyes both possible goals as he traps a pass from one of his four teammates. As two other teams advance in tandem to block his kick, he considers which players are his momentary allies and which he will betray. Then he makes his move.
The retired Spanish pro isn’t imagining things. He’s merely playing a very unusual game: three-sided soccer. And while it seems new (and, yes, a bit incomprehensible), it’s actually been years in the making.
In 2009, using theoretical rules laid out in Danish avant-garde painter Asger Jorn’s 1962 treatise, The Natural Order, a French art collective created a three-sided soccer game it called “triolectique.” Jorn’s drawing of a six-sided field was meant to inspire fresh ways of thinking about relationships and cooperation within sport and society—and inspire it did. Before long, the French artists passed the idea on to the philosophically minded Bilbao players at the 2009 Lyon Biennale.
In the game, the winner is determined not by how many goals are scored but by how many are conceded. With three teams and three goals, “you choose the way you want to win,” says Galder Reguera, activities director for the Athletic Club of Bilbao.
This month the Bilbao club will partner with the local Guggenheim museum to formally introduce three-sided soccer to the world as part of “Thinking Football,” a series of talks and events that highlight soccer’s relationship to modern society. Whether fans will embrace the new sport remains to be seen, but one thing will certainly take some getting used to: no long-standing rivalries. “In this game,” Reguera says, “you don’t have to be enemies for life.” Just until the next goal is scored. —BRITTANY SHOOT