Canto VI, 2005
Video mono-channel. 5’40”
- “Woe is me! to the land of what mortals am I now come? Are they cruel, and wild, and unjust? or do they love strangers and fear the gods in their thoughts?(...)
- Whither do ye flee at the sight of a man? Ye do not think, surely, that he is an enemy? That mortal man lives not, or exists nor shall ever be born who shall come to the land of the Phaeacians as a foeman, for we are very dear to the immortals. Far off we dwell in the surging sea, the furthermost of men, and no other mortals have dealings with us. Nay, this is some hapless wanderer that has come hither. Him must we now tend; for from Zeus are all strangers and beggars, and a gift, though small, is welcome. Come, then, my maidens, give to the stranger food and drink, and bathe him in the river in a spot where there is shelter from the wind.”
Odyssey, Canto VI
In our century, hospitality has been usurped by the hotel industry; when we find the word in print or hear someone say it, it is always in the context of a commercial offer: be it a holiday package, a hotel service or special treatment by hotel workers. Hospitality has become a commodity, a luxury commodity at that, a service provided when paid for in cash or, better yet, when guaranteed with a signed credit card. In this world of economic exchange we are unprotected if we lack an American Express or MasterCard. Our only safeguard is the account balance of our plastic card.
Héctor Zagal and Julián Etienne, On Hospitality.