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Ambient Infrastructures. Generator Life in Nigeria

As a result of inaccessible or unreliable power grids, petrol generators are an essential part of the energy supply in Nigeria. Ethnographer Brian Larkin explores the consequences of these generators and their parasitical relationship to more formal infrastructures through the presence of noise and pollution, demonstrating how their ubiquity creates a type of ambient space.

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Brian Larkin

Barnard College, Columbia University

Brian Larkin is Professor of Anthropology Barnard College, Columbia University and the author of Signal and Noise: Media Infrastructure and Urban Culture in Nigeria (Duke University Press, 2008).  With Lila Abu-Lughod and Faye Ginsburg he co-edited of Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain (University of California Press, 2000).  Larkin’s research examines the introduction of media technologies – cinema, radio, digital media - into Nigeria and the religious, political, and cultural changes they bring about.  He has published widely on issues of technology and breakdown, piracy and intellectual property, the global circulation of cultural forms, infrastructure and urban space, sound studies, and Nigerian film (Nollywood).