Monday, 29 April 2013

Man In The Hills

"We report here a legendary and, apparently, unique use of mosses for man camouflage, something previously seen in some insect larvae and weevils."
                                                                                Journal of Bryology 23: 264

It was in 1976 that Helvetius Kronk gave a copy of the newly released Burning Spear album Man In The Hills to his friend Gospodin Stotinki. Little did Kronk imagine the effect that his gift would have. Ignoring the vinyl disc within, Stotinki mounted the cover on the wall of his workshop and set his chair in front of it. His diary explains,

"Day after day I have looked upon that scene, imagining myself a homonculus shepherd wandering upon that face. In inclement weather I would shelter in the nasal caverns or build my fire out of the wind beneath the beetling brow cliffs. As I walked out into the world around me I saw evidence of great presences lying patiently in the landscape. Some were hidden in the hills and valleys. Others had been formed, perhaps unconsciously, by human endeavour."

Stotinki read the work of Katherine Maltwood but was frustrated in his attempts to recognise consistent patterns in the figures that he discovered. "I craved ever deeper levels of communication with the beings in the land. I had to become..." 

On a visit to Bèjar in Spain he happened upon the curious rites of the Moss Men. This was his epiphany. "Indistinguishable from the land I will recline like a moss-covered mountain, until I am the moss man, the man in the hills."

Stotinki was found in a partially desiccated state several weeks later. He was clasping the trunk of a tree and had a nuthatch nesting above his left ear.