Belen Zahera • Ob Skené

Veronica Valentini

Karlos Gil(soundscape), Jasmine Delle Vedove (voce) e Controlmad

The Belen Zahera's residency is part of Theory of the leaves, a traveling artistic research program conceived by EMMA and developed in collaboration with Careof.


As part of the collaboration with EMMA, Careof presents Ob skené, a sound installation by Belen Zahera, conceived as part of a bigger work which has begun last October during the period of residence in Milan. The project investigates language as an ambiguous tool, adopted to understand, but also, more often than not, to deceive.

In ancient greek theatre, the death of the characters and other episodes of violence had to take place ob skenè or offstage, because they were considered too much offensive to be seen directly from the public. During the years linguists have claimed that the etymology of the word “obscene” that means “what is offensive for the senses or the taste”, could be traced back to the theatre origins and more precisely to the therm “ob skené”, for its similar morphology and relation to a certain degree of concealment.

However logical or appealing this theory could appear, the truth is that a clear continuity between this two words never existed. The adjective obscene had nothing to do with the word “skené” or “scene” and instead finds its roots in the previsional language, in anticipating the future, and it refers to a bad prediction – thus becoming unpleasant to see.
Between what has to be hidden and what looks like a bad prediction, that is between invisibility and visibility, the logic of discontinuity, based on language, it’s constantly at work. The language becomes an unclean operation of masking and unmasking, a tool to understand, but also, most of the times to mislead. Following these ideas and the general practice of the artist, the project Ob Skené deepens the the functioning of the language and the matter from the point of view of cutting, interrupting and of what is left out and acquired through said cut or association in itself.
The work is presented like a partial scene in the form of an audio installation and experiments the deployment of mental images, halfway between memory and immagination.


Belén Zahera (Madrid, 1985)
makes art, researches and occasionally writes. Her work usually intertwines reiterative figures and discursive strategies through using the media as text, sculpture, installation or video.
She is interested in the surface, in the brain functioning and other self-organized systems and in the tension between form and content, that actually explores through the relation between “ensayo” (which means both wise and challenge in spanish) within herself. She works in Madrid.
She graduated in Fine Arts at University Complutense (Madrid), and obtained an MA in Fine Art at la Slade School of Fine Art (University College London). Currently she is a PhD student at Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Fine Arts and studies theatre direction. She worked with Silvia Cuenca Sanz (zahera+cuenca), has co-founded Salon Flux (London) and has been a member of Proyecto Rampa (Madrid). She is currently part of the collaborative project (play)ground-less.
She won the Visual Arts Grant (Botín Foundation, 2014) and the Generation Art Price (Fundación Montemadrid 2014)


Emma is a non-profit organisation founded in Spain in 2016 from the desire to support and share artistic knowledge production and practice by creating learning and residential opportunities for artists and other cultural producers through diverse forms of presence such collective gatherings and presentations.
Emma works as a self-organised collaborative and curatorial initiative and operates on a national and international scale starting the annual agenda with an encounter among an ensemble of guests temporally gathered in picked venues. Context (hosting structure and territory) and content (common studies) are taken into account for the construction of the meaning of the encounter itself whose outcomes will inform the program of residencies and exhibitions that has to come elsewhere. A publication with the contributions of all participants will complete the ongoing exploration. Emma and the annual roaming program of artistic research is conceived and curated by Veronica Valentini and developed & co-produced in partnership with a multiplicity of associates (individuals, nonprofits and institutions) coming from various areas of society aiming to support artistic practice during the project and production phases.