Love, Piracy, and the Office of Religious Weblog Expansion

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“Love, Piracy...” book launch performance, 2009


Love, Piracy, a work by artist duo Ambient TV (Manu Luksch & Mukul Patel), is about censorship politics. It takes as its subject the transcript of an interview conducted by Patel with Iranian philosopher Ali Alizadeh. This 1,500 word text – itself about the history of censorship in Iran – has been reproduced 1,500 times. In real-world installations, people join together, taking turns to censor the text: blocking it out word-by-word. However the rules set for the censor are such that a different word is left visible in each copy. As a result, no single version of the text offers more than a trace of its content but collectively, they present it in its entirety. In an online adjunct to this act, owners of these censored copies are invited to add the revealed word in their redacted script to a publicly accessible website. Over time, the inputted words will allow a complete version of the text to exist online as it is rebuilt by the disparately located network of reader/sharers. Described as an exercise in ‘collective reading’, where groups have come together to redact the script, it requires the same collaboration to reveal it once more.

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