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Strange metal object from Utah desert inspires '2001: A Space Odyssey' comparisons

  • Published at 06:26 pm November 25th, 2020
Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey Collected

The helicopter pilot, who came across the monolith, said it was 'the strangest thing' he had ever come across in years of flying

A helicopter crew of wildlife officials found an unusual object during a routine flyover over the area. 

 A 10 to 12ft (3.6m) tall metal monolith was spotted by the crew in the remote south-eastern area of Utah, reports BBC. The officials say, the object was 'planted between red rocks.' 

Bret Hutchings, the pilot told news channel KSLTV, "That's been about the strangest thing that I've come across out there in all my years of flying."

According to Hutchings, a biologist on board was the first crew member to detect the unusual object. 

"He was like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!'. And I was like, 'What?'. And he's like, 'There's this thing back there - we've got to go look at it!'," he added.

The pilot speculated that it was the work of a fan of Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey or "some new wave artist."

Utah Monolith Collected

Did a fan of Kubrick's classic 2001: A Space Odyssey traverse the rugged terrain and install the monolith in the remote area of Utah desert? 

Black monoliths appear four times in Kubrick's film, based on Arthur C Clarke's novel. These objects are created by unseen extraterrestrial life and cause epic transitions in human evolution.

The objects signaled gradual evolution in human intelligence - from apes learning to wield bones as weapons to human beings making incredible progress in artificial intelligence.

In Roger Ebert's review of the film, the late critic wrote in 1968, "Audiences don't like simple answers, I guess; they want the monolith to "stand" for something. Well, it does. It stands for a monolith without an explanation. It's the fact that man can't explain it that makes it interesting."

"If Kubrick had explained it, perhaps by having some little green men from Mars lower it into place, would that have been more satisfactory? Does everything need an explanation? Some people think so. I wonder how they endure looking at the stars," he added.

Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau is however not pleased with the exciting discovery. "It is illegal to install structures or art without authorisation on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you're from," a statement from the department reads.

The location of the monolith has not been made public as people might get stranded in the desert if they set out to find the object for themselves. 

Many have pointed out that the monolith shares great similarity with the work of late minimalist artist John McCracken.

Others were wary and expressed fear of a possible alien invasion in 2020 - a year that already feels incredibly long and heavy with grief and tragic news. 

If this is however the work of intelligent, humorous alien life, they seem particularly well-versed in American literature and cinema.