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Transcending non-things

What is Casa Costa? Let’s start with familiar notions, shall we? It can be a portal, a container, a foyer. And yet we want to defy familiarity and transcend definitions. Casa Costa aims to be genuine, the round peg for the square boxes of the world. And our leitmotif throughout this all is something whose quintessence, despite often being abused and misused, still speaks to us: hospitality.

Hospitality has been, indeed, abused in a world where reckless, greedy tourism has trivialised the mountains’ sacred nature, one which has been cherished by locals for centuries. Tourism and its unstoppable industry breached states of minds and actual states, encroaching upon borders and conquering peaks, giving access to the masses, transforming mountains into a simple and banal mass consumer product. The same story repeats itself for the seas and oceans, the countryside, or any other type of natural landscape which has become a mere shadow of itself, a frozen ready meal for whoever wants to experience something without fully understanding its nature. Hospitality. Ha! What does hospitality mean in the contemporary kingdom of non-things?

Byung-Chul Han, a South Korean-born German philosopher, says, “We no longer occupy earth and sky but Google Earth and the Cloud. The world is becoming progressively less tangible, cloudier and ghostlier.”

We echo his words: we’ve lost touch with reality. It’s vital we return to the times when we looked at practical, modest, and everyday things. A handshake, a walk or a bike ride can do us all a world of good.

Casa Costa wants to be a pathfinder for the quintessence of hospitality. What is the quintessence of hospitality? I can tell you what it certainly isn’t: consumption, doubling overnight stays, and gluttonous expansion of one’s premises. It isn’t a vague concept which rips away our identity, pushes us off balance, away from the grounded stance we need – one foot in the past, the other in the future.

Hospitality, to us, is about giving an outstanding welcome. It’s based on strong values the likes of solidarity, the Common Good, environmental sustainability, and togetherness as part of the same community – humanity. Big, terrifying words – but all the stronger for it. True words which rise in a triumphant song against the emptiness of non-things.

Non-things? As Byung-Chul said, non-things are a mass of information which wash over us every day. And, just like every flood, it impacts our lives, sweeps away borders, and reshapes countries. Practical things don’t influence our lives any longer – data do. Non-things are overtaking reality, facts, and biology. Reality comes across as evermore fleeting and confused, bursting with superficial stimuli.

Casa Costa is the portal for our Case in the Dolomites and Val D’Orcia. We want to create a space to express our thoughts and muse about the future we’re shaping as hosts and guests. Because the future of hospitality and our future is something which affects us all. Follow us and help us – together we can shape a new type of hospitality.

Michil Costa

Byung-Chul Han, Non-things: Upheaval in the Lifeworld