OB SKENÉ by Belen Zahera
Fellow artist solo project

27/11/2017 at 19:00



La Fabbrica del Vapore


In the ancient Greek theatre the death of characters and other episodes of violence had to take place ‘ob skené’, that is ‘off-stage’, since they were considered hurtful and therefore not fit to be seen. Over the years linguists have affirmed that the
etymology of the word ‘obscene’, meaning ‘that which is offensive to the senses or taste’, could be traced back to the origins of theatre and more precisely to the term ‘ob skené’, given its similar morphology and its relationship to certain degree of
concealment. However logic or appealing this theory might be, the truth is that there never existed a clear continuity between the two words. The adjective ‘obscene’ had nothing to do with the word ‘skené’ or ‘scene’ and instead finds its roots in the augural language, in the act of foreseeing the future, and referred to a bad omen – hence unpleasant to see - yet to come. Between that which must be hidden and that which appears as a sign of an unfortunate presage, that is, between invisibility and visibility, a certain logic of discontinuity, based on language, is constantly at work. Language becomes an impure operation of masking and unmasking, a tool for understanding but also, and most of the times, for misleading.
Following these ideas and the general practice of the artist, the project ‘Ob skené’ delves into the functioning of language and matter from the perspective of the cut, the interruption and that which is left out and gained in the activity of chopping,
associating, flattening and contouring reality. Conceived as a slice of a larger work, the project presents a partial scene in the form of an audio-installation and experiments with the unfolding of mental images, halfway between memory and imagination.

With the collaboration of Karlos Gil (soundscape), Jasmine Delle Vedove (voice) and Controlmad.

↖ Views of the installation at Careof, Milan. Photos by Niccolo Benetton.
↖ Belen Zahera, Ob skené, 2017. Collage

Surface matters Exhibition with Carlos Fernandez-Pello, Camille Tsvetoukhine and Monica Restrepo at Glassbox, Paris

CHEZ EMMA 2016 roving program of artistic research