The quiet canyon in the Red Rock country of Utah has given excessive impetus to the imagination of the world.
Members of the Utah Department of Public Security’s Aero Office assisted Wildlife Resources in a routine count of big-horned sheep on Nov. 18 when they spotted the monolith – a tall, metallic reflective structure clearly placed there.
But the question was: by whom?
The Department of Public Safety admitted that it did not know who – or what – installed the monolith, nor does it tell the public exactly where the structure is located in the large and distant southeast corner of the state.
The first guess of the public: strangers, of course. Theories and jokes abounded. Who only got stronger after the Federal Office of Agriculture announced on Saturday that the monolith had suddenly disappeared. In its place stood a pile of rocks that appeared in memory of the missing structure.
“#WhereDidItComeFrom #WhereDidItGo,” the San Juan County sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.
Pilot Bret Hutchings said that when one of his officers spotted the monolith, it seemed like a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: Space Odyssey” classic.
“It was like,” Húúúúúúúúúúúúúúú, héééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééé! And I was like, “What?” And he sounds like, “There’s something here – we have to look!” “Hutchings told NBC’s subsidiary, KSL in Salt Lake City.” We just flew just over the top by accident.
People immediately started making alien jokes, and when the monolith disappeared, the jokes didn’t.
The alien geg has become so popular that CNN has even run a headline saying, “The Utah monolith was probably not the work of strangers,” which means there’s little chance the extraterrestrials actually put it there.
In his post on the disappearance, the sheriff’s department entertained alien theories, posted a collage of aliens from the movies on Facebook, and asked residents to “recognize anyone from the set-up as the one in the strange structure area on the night of November 27th. “
But while the monolith was still in the canyon, a more acceptable theory emerged.
Hutchings, the pilot, admitted that the silver monolith looks like some kind of “new-wave” art installation, and people quickly wondered which one.
One theory is that the monolith was the work of Petecia Le Fawnhawk, a Southwestern artist who had previously lived and worked in Utah. Le Fawnhawk had previously installed statues in the desert, but told Artnet News that although he “was thinking of installing secret monuments in the desert,” he “can’t claim that.”
Others, including The Art Newspaper, claimed it immediately scanned the monolith as the work of sculptor John McCracken, who died in 2011 and lived in New Mexico.
David Zwirner, whose gallery represented McCracken and presented his work, originally said he thought the structure was McCracken, but has since changed his mind.
“I love that this will be John’s work, but when you look closely at the photographs of the Utah monolith, you’ll see rivets and screws that aren’t in line with how John wanted to build his work,” Zwirner said in a statement, “He was a perfectionist. Although I know this “It’s not John’s work, I also know he would have been happy with the location in Utah and appreciated the mystery around the work. We all think it’s a wonderful tribute.”
A spokesman for the State Department of Public Security said the monolith was clearly “someone’s art installation or experiment.”
And yet, the mystery also surrounds the fact that the statue has been in a remote, rarely traded corner of Utah ever since. A public security spokesman said it could have been there since the 1940s or 50s.
One Reddit user, who named him too profusely for publication, claimed to have found the exact location of the statue with satellite imagery and field analysis. Based on the analysis, some believe it was placed in the canyon only after McCracken’s death.
And as interest in the monolith seemed to stall, another – perhaps a copy – the second monolith was discovered in Romania, which could be much more.