media, information, the contemporary

Sarai Reader 05: Bare Acts

Sarai Reader 05: Bare Acts Sarai Reader 05: Bare Acts


“This year, the Reader looks at ‘Acts’ – at instruments of legislation, at things within and outside the law, and at ‘acts’ – as different ways of ‘doing’ things in society and culture. Several essays echo and complement themes that have emerged in earlier readers. Piracy, borders, surveillance, claims to authority and entitlement, the language of expertise, the legal regulation of sexual behaviour and trespasses of various kinds have featured prominently in previous Readers. This collection foregrounds these issues in a way we hope can make a series of coherent but autonomous and interrelated arguments…”


Editors: Monica Narula, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Jeebesh Bagchi (Sarai), Geert Lovink (Waag), and Lawrence Liang (Guest Editor).

Design: Mrityunjay Chatterjee, Gauri Bajaj, and Monica Narula.


The entire book can be accessed and downloaded from the Sarai archive.





Invitation – Sarai Reader Editorial Collective

Porous Legalities and Avenues of Participation – Lawrence Liang

“…Bolti Band (SILENCED)!” – Clifton D’Rozario

Lepers, Witches and Infidels & it’s a Bug’s Life – Francesca da Rimini

Rested – Colette Mazabrard


Of Butchers and Policemen: Law, Justice and Economies of Anxiety – Gunalan Nadarajan

Down by Law: A Critique for the 21st Century – Alexander Karschnia

‘New’ Delhi: Fashioning an Urban Environment through Science and Law – Awadhendra Sharan An Improbable Monument to Witnessing and the Ethics of Trespass – Sharon Daniel


The Discovery of the Fifth World: Stealth Countries and Logo Nations – Daniel van der Velden, Tina Clausmeyer, Vinca Kruk, Adriaan Mellegers (Meta Haven Project)

Transcoding Sovereignty: Naked Bandit/Here, Not Here/White Sovereign – KR and CF

SMS to Passport – Vishwajyoti Ghosh

The Strange Case of Qays Al Kareem – Tripta Wahi

Marginalia – Kai Friese

On Smugglers, Pirates and Aroma Makers – Ursula Biemann

Sponge Borders – Guido Cimadomo and Pilar Martínez Ponce

Notes on the Disappeared: Towards a Visual Language of Resistance – Chitra Ganesh and Mariam Ghani

Dreams and Disguises, As Usual – Raqs Media Collective


Trespasses of the State: Ministering to Theological Dilemmas through the Copyright/Trademark – Naveeda Khan

Harmony or Discord? TRIPS, China, and Overlapping Sovereignties – Shujen Wang

Innovating Piracy: The Bare Act of Stealing, and Shaping the Future – Menso Heus

Is Hacking Illegal? – Yuwei Lin and David Beer

Three Proposals for a Real Democracy: Information-Sharing to a Different Tune – Brian Holmes

Roots Culture: Free Software Vibrations “inna Babylon” – Armin Medosch


Touts, Pirates and Ghosts – Solomon Benjamin

Daily Journey – Satyajit Pande

Complicating the City: Media Itineraries – Media Researchers @ Sarai

Begum Samru and the Security Guard – Anand Vivek Taneja

My Driving Master: A Story of Everyday Trespasses – Zainab Bawa

Naye Qanoon (New Laws) – Iram Ghufran


Vis-à-Visage – I. Helen Jilavu

Cybermohalla Logs/Acts/Texts – Cybermohalla Labs @ LNJP-DP-NM


The Act of Leisure – Iram Ghufran and Taha Mehmood

Surveillance, Performance, Self-Surveillance: Interview with Jill Magid – Geert Lovink

Living between Laws – Ninad Pandit

Negotiating Territory – Ateya Khorakiwala


Tis Hazari Diaries – Chander Nigam

Bare Acts and Collective Explorations: The MKSS Experience with the Right to Information – Preeti Sampat and Nikhil Dey


Zimbabwe’s ‘New Clothes’: Identity and Power Among Displaced Farm Workers – Amy R. West and Blair Rutherford

Standardised, Packaged, Ready for Consumption – Ravi Agarwal

The Act of Instruction – Jan Ritsema


Womanhood Laid Bare: How Katherine Mayo and Manoda Devi Challenged Indian Public Morality – Alice Albinia

Literature and the Limits of Law: Crime, Guilt and Agency in Premchand’s Ghaban – Ulka S. Anjaria

The Honourable Murder: The Trial of Kawas Maneckshaw Nanavati – Aarti Sethi

Judicial Extract

Representing a Woman’s Story: Explicit Film and the Efficacy of Censorship in Japan – Hikari Hori

The Queer Case of Section 377 – Siddharth Narrain


“For God’s Sake, Be Objective!” – Somnath Batabyal

Another 9/11, Another Act of Terror: The ‘Embedded Disorder’ of the AFSPA – A. Bimol Akoijam

Warporn Warpunk! Autonomous Videopoesis in Wartime – Matteo Pasquinelli

‘First, Do No Harm…’: Ensuring Humanitarian Military Interventions – Bikram Jeet Batra

War Cake – Linda F. Beekman


The Law of the Mother: Soldiers’ Mothers and the Post-Soviet Army – Irina Aristarkhova

Naked Protest and the Politics of Personalism – Isaac Souweine

Analytical World Statistics Wall Chart, 2003 – Louise Kolff

A Comparative Anatomy of Post-Mortem Acts – Smriti Vohra


The Accidental Activist – Fredrik Svensk and Kristoffer Gansing

‘Our’chitecture – Jayson Claude

Sex Workers’ Manifesto – Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, Kolkata

Bare Wiring – Sophea Lerner

Notes on Contributors and Image Credits