Final Year Project, Gestalten x Snow Peak
A Studio for Stories.
My first exposure to the Northern Spanish region of Asturias was from Anthony Bourdain's journey into the mountains surrounding the capital of Oviedo. His trip would eventually be detailed in an episode of his show, Parts Unknown, but unfortunately this would only come to be aired a few months after his much-too-early death. What marked this episode apart was the complete lack of characteristic narration that always accompanied his other work, which in any other context would have dispensed the chef's sharp wit and cutting, insightful musings on the nature of place and people. In its absence was an unusual, peaceful silence, a stillness within the episode that while lacking factual insight allowed the apparent atmosphere of the region, at least as experienced by Bourdain, to endure. Something sobering, well-lived, and always hard-worked, even without a voice, shone through.
My understanding of this region, limited only to what I knew from this single episode, was more a montage of tone and feeling, heavily swayed by both the editorialised, if (I'm sure) fairly placed, focus of the show and inevitable sombre context that surrounded its production.
I felt I knew at least some semblance of how the place could have felt, but I also knew I lacked a lot of detail, a swathe of information that would help me piece together in my own mind this rugged and genuinely ancient place, a deeply and unfairly untold area of an even broader misunderstood region. Frankly, the more I learned suggested that Green Spain, Cornisa Cantábrica, was just but one within a country whose history and relevance is seemingly and increasingly becoming diminished within my language's sphere of influence. Its relevance, known through fun-if-exaggerated stereotype, only acknowledged as it pertains to the interests of tourists.
It was immediately apparent that a great deal was different in the north, not just limited to its decidedly mountainous, Celtic-landscape, but also if not more so to its people and culture. How different from the rest of its country, I didn't and, frankly, continue to not know. But this place was distinctively and decidedly its own.