In celebration of the call to explore the known and unknown in our universe (Spaceness), the artist introduced a physical manifestation of one of the most mysterious symbols in the genre of space films: the monolith. An imposing black rectangular form that appears throughout Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film, 2001 Space Odyssey, the monolith has been the subject of many interpretations and heady analysis. Arthur C. Clarke's novel of the same name (which was written as the movie was made) explicitly identifies the monolith as a tool created by an alien race that has been through many stages of evolution, moving from organic forms, through biomechanics, and finally has achieved a state of pure energy. In interviews, Clarke referred to it as "the alien Swiss Army Knife.” Other critics argue that the symbol has been overanalyzed. In his 1968 review of the film “The Monolith and the Message”, Roger Ebert wrote: “But 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.”
If asked, Stanley Kubrick would argue that the monolith carries no intended significance, but is open for individual interpretation. True to the last spoken line in the film, "Its origin and purpose still a total mystery."
Photo by Jesse Lortz.
This short video begins with a stop-motion of the installation of the Monolith on Long Beach, WA on a brisk, sunny morning in February, 2016. The construction sequence dissolves into time-lapse footage taken of the Monolith the following morning at sunrise.
Video footage taken by Liz Harris
Sarah Baker has a special moment with the Monolith. Photo by Hanna Hagen.
A view of the sky from deep inside the Monolith.
The Monolith at dusk.
Video footage by Liz Harris.