In November 2012, with support from the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs at Indiana University and the African Studies Program, the NeMLiA Collective hosted the Nigerian photographer, George Osodi. George Osodi presented his series, “Oil Rich Niger Delta,” on the devastating environmental effects and human impact of oil exploration in the Niger Delta in Nigeria to the African Studies Wednesday Evening Seminar. Mr. Osodi’s visit corresponded with the fall seminar speaker series in African Studies on “Histories of Technology in Africa” organized by Marissa Moorman, Associate Professor, Department of History, IU Bloomington. He also presented his work in progress, “Nigerian Kings,” to a Faculty Curatorial Seminar at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures at Indiana University.
During his one week residency, Osodi explored issues related to African cultural production, new media technologies, and intellectual property. During these talks Osodi engaged faculty and students in a further exploration of one of the themes arising from the spring 2012 workshop; specifically, the relationships between the democratic nature of digital technology and its impact upon the important issues of copyright and intellectual property on digital photography. Although digital photography in some ways has increased access to the medium of photography, the technological developments shaping new ways of promoting and circulating cultural products are also contributing to the problems of copyright and ownership, since the lack of infrastructure limits the ability of these cultural workers to control the circulation of their work.