The Utah monolith was probably not the work of strangers, but it was still a mystery

Written by Written by Scottie Andrew, CNN

This brilliant, eerily symmetrical silver monolith found in the Utah desert makes everyone shout “ET.” The truth is probably much earthly.
We still don’t know who made the tall, metal rectangle or why it glued it to the red rocks where it was discovered this week on a helicopter overpass by Utah Department of Public Security staff (big-horned sheep counted).
And while the fictional monoliths of Stanley Kubrick’s filmmaker “2001: The Space Odyssey” were quickly compared, we can safely say that this is the real monolith no work of strangers.

Still, it’s a proper mystical symbol for a year that often feels weirder than fiction. And while we may eventually learn more about the artwork, any piece of Kubrick-inspired art should leave some questions unanswered, said IQ Hunter, a film scientist and professor at De Montfort University.

“The work in Utah, a slice of the future set in a prehistoric past, is completely foreign and incomprehensible to the landscape,” he told CNN. “It would be a shame if we discovered what the Utah statue was, as that would reduce its mystery.”

Utah Department of Public Safety

Who made it?

We still don’t know. No artist demanded it publicly, and when Utah officials stumbled upon it, it was without signal.

But we can safely assume that the artist was no stranger – people are clearly capable of building rectangular works of art, said Jason Wright, a professor of astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University and director of the university’s Extraterrestrial Intelligence Center.

“This monolith is clearly the kind of thing that people can do (and can do!), In a place where people go,” Wright told CNN. “Indeed, desert art is prevalent in the southwestern United States, so I see no reason to think it would be any different.”

While it clearly resembles the monoliths of “2001: Space Odyssey,” it is also reminiscent of minimalist works of art promoted in the 1960s by artists such as Donald Judd and Robert Morris, Hunter said.

And if “2001: Space Odyssey” had never entered the public consciousness, Hunter said, we probably would never have questioned whether extraterrestrial life forms placed a simple geometric figure on Earth.

Still, Hunter said the fact that he was hiding in the wilderness was strange.

Why is he in the Utah desert?

Hunter has a theory – he says parts of “2001” were filmed in Monument Valley, along the Arizona-Utah border, so it’s possible that the artist wanted to honor the film and placed the real monolith in a similar terrain.

And in the film, the monolith was usually out of place — on prehistoric Earth and buried on the moon, ”Wright said. And like the fictional monoliths, it cuts a hard, industrial shape for robust red rocks.

What it means?

Like all great, mysterious art, this can be interpreted. Since no artist has claimed this, people dream of their own explanation (read: strangers).

Whatever its intended meaning, the silver rectangle is widely interpreted in Kubrick’s film as a homage to the monoliths. On the screen, the monoliths were large black rectangles that acted as a sort of indicator or communication device. It raised the consciousness of all who touched it and moved evolution forward, Hunter said.

To our knowledge, touching the monolith did not have the same effect on the staff of the Ministry of Public Security, who examined it while standing on each other’s shoulders. But, as in the film, it’s also a deceptively simple object whose meaning has divided critics.

The Utah Department of Public Safety did not respond to CNN’s comments. He has not yet revealed his plans for the figure. However, in a press release issued Monday, the state’s public safety department said it was illegal to place works of art in federally managed public spaces. This means that the monolith can be removed.

“The Office of Land Management will determine if they need to investigate further,” the press release said.

Hunter said he thought the monolith should remain among the rocks in all its disturbing glory.

“It’s a great tribute, and you have to keep it a mystery.”

If you stay there, confuse the big-horned sheep and the visitors, it could be a pilgrimage for the fans of the film.

Hunter also said he still hopes the aliens will take it for granted.