Rob Nixon, Art and Me

by Ilse Elejo

Everyday at Stanford is a new adventure, today’s adventure began when me and Adya (one of my best friends here at Stanford) tried to find the building in which the conference was to be held, Stanford is a beautiful and huge (very huge) campus and this was an opportunity to get to know the other side of it that I have never seen before (I, as computer scientist, spend most of my time in the Engineering part of campus), so when we finally got there, the conference had already started, Rob Nixon was standing in front of us with an image of a painting behind him, this surprised me a lot because I was expecting to see a bunch of text in his slides, but no, I was seeing art, he was explaining “Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor” using photographs and paintings and linking human crisis with art movements, I was completely immerse in the conference and I think that most of the people that attended were mesmerized too, because we spend more than 30 minutes asking questions after the lecture ended.

Rob Nixon explained how environmental disasters caused by men led to slow violence impacting greatly on impoverished people and how artists where responding to that fact showing that our lack of action is leading to our own decapitation, he also mentioned that when we talk about culture we don’t take into consideration the environment in which that culture is developed, he insisted that we need a new definition of culture and I agree with him because our traditions are affected by the environment around them.

Being part of the Stanford Summer International Honors Program has many benefits, one of them is being able to attend lectures, ask questions and learn from people like Rob Nixon, but more importantly it gives us an opportunity to get inspired and come up with ideas to be the change in the world.



For more information on Rob Nixon and Slow Violence, visit: