University of California, Santa Barbara

Torture and the Future

Perspectives from the Humanities


Main Page | Project Description | Events/Lectures | Coordinators | Links | Giving | Contact


A panel with John Nava, Stephen Eisenman, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, and Avery Gordon


Free and open to the public.

Following the panel, Hector Aristizábal reenacts his arrest and torture by the US-supported military in Colombia in a harrowing solo performance created in collaboration with Enzo Fina and Diane Lefer.

John Nava, painter and creator of the recent series “Neo-Icons”, including “Signing Statement Law or An Alternate Set of Procedures”. His work is found in numerous private, corporate and public collections throughout the United States, Europe and Japan including the National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C., the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Hawaii, the Triton Museum in San Jose, California and the Ventura County Museum of History and Art, Ventura, California.

In 1999 Nava was commissioned by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to create three major cycles of tapestries for the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The primary cycle of 25 tapestries depict the Communion of Saints and comprise 136 over life-size saints from throughout history and from all parts of the world. In 2003 Nava’s tapestries for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels won the National Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA) Design Honor Award for Visual Art.


Stephen Eisenman, professor of Art History at Northwestern University, Evanston. He is the author of two books on art and artists of the late 19th century: The Temptation of Saint Redon (1992) and Gauguin's Skirt (1997). His newest book, The Abu Ghraib Effect, will be published in early February by Reaktion Books.


Abigail Solomon-Godeau, professor of Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, specializes in Feminist theory and criticism, photography, contemporary art and 19th century French visual culture. Before becoming an art historian, Abigail Solomon-Godeau was a freelance critic, curator and photographic critic and historian. Her first book, Photography at the Dock: Essays on Photographic History, Institutions, and Practices, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 1991. Her second, Male Trouble: A Crisis in Representation, on the Imagery of Masculinity in French Neoclassicism, was published by Thames & Hudson in 1997. A third book, The Face of Difference: Gender, Race and the Politics of Self-Representation is forthcoming from Duke University Press. Her essays have appeared in such journals as Art in America, Artforum, The Art Journal, Afterimage, Camera Obscura, October, Screen, and have been widely anthologized and translated into various languages. She is currently working on a book entitled Genre, Gender and the Nude in French Art. Her most recent essay "Abu Ghraib: In and Out of the Media" will be published (in French) in the journal "Multitudes".


Avery Gordon, professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her teaching and research interests include social theory, race, gender, culture and art, radical theory and politics. Her publications include Keeping Good Time (2004), Ghostly Matters (1997), Mapping Multiculturalism (ed., 1996), and “White Philosophy,” Critical Inquiry (coauthor, 1994).


The video piece United States Code Section 2340A will be screened at this event; please click here
for more information.



Where does a terrorist come from? Hector Aristizábal reenacts his arrest and torture by the US-supported military in Colombia in a harrowing solo performance created in collaboration with Enzo Fina and Diane Lefer.

Hector Aristizábal was born in Medellín, Colombia where he had a distinguished career as actor, director, and psychologist and was threatened with death for his human rights work. He has lived in exile in the US since 1989 and has appeared on screen and on local stages including REDCAT and Theatre of NOTE while also using his theatre skills as a therapist and activist. Hector is co-creator and former clinical director of Cityscape, an innovative arts-based therapeutic program for youth. He is a co-founder of the Colombia Peace Project and serves on the board of the Program for Torture Victims which has provided medical, psychological and other support services to survivors from all over the world since 1980. Hector has toured “Nightwind” from coast to coast, including a performance in November at Fort Benning, GA as part of the annual vigil aimed at closing down the School of the Americas/Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation where some of Latin America’s most notorious death squad leaders have been trained. He is a 2006-07 recipient of the highly competitive City of LA individual artists fellowship in performance. Website:


Enzo Fina, born in Lecce, Italy, plays more instruments than we can count, many of which he invents and builds himself. In the duo Musicàntica, with Roberto Catalano, he performs Mediterranean music throughout the US and around the world. Enzo and Roberto also offer a taste of Mediterranean culture: parties for up to 20 people at which guests join them in preparing (and of course eating) homestyle Italian meals with seasonal ingredients besides enjoying their music and learning to dance the tarantella. They’ve played their tarantellas at Stanford University for scientists considering how this music has been associated for centuries with healing trance. For more information:


Diane Lefer's work for the stage has been produced in LA, NYC, Chicago, and both Carolinas. As a fiction writer, her books include the story collections The Circles I Move In and Very Much Like Desire and the novel, Radiant Hunger. Her most recent collection, California Transit, was awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize and will be available from Sarabande Books in April—book tour in the works. She is a contributing writer to LA Stage and has volunteered with the Program for Torture Victims and as a volunteer paralegal/interpreter for immigrants held in detention in LA County. Diane is a current recipient of the City of LA individual artists fellowship in literary arts and is on a leave of absence from the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College where she has taught since 1987. Website:

Performance sponsored by the Performance Studies Research Group at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UCSB.

Main Page | Project Description | Events/Lectures | Coordinators | Links | Giving | Contact