A helicopter from the Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau was conducting a routine headcount of bighorn sheep in the Red Rock area of the state when a biologist with the team did a double-take after seeing a metal monolith smack dab in the middle of nowhere sticking out of the ground.
It’s not black like the one from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I still felt like the ape-man in the movie when I first saw it. Absolutely awesome.
The press release from the DPS had a little fun with it.
The crew said there was no obvious indication of who might have put the monolith there.
The exact location of the installation is not being disclosed since it is in a very remote area and if individuals were to attempt to visit the area, there is a significant possibility they may become stranded and require rescue.
It is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you’re from.
Sooooo many questions. The alien monolith from 2001 had dimensions of 1 foot by 4 feet by nine — the square of the first three prime numbers. How big is the Utah monolith? What’s it made of?
This isn’t the first monolith that has suddenly appeared on earth. On New Year’s Day in 2001, a monolith mysteriously appeared in a public park in Seattle. It disappeared a day later, replaced by, according to the Los Angeles Times, a “large broken red nose.”
“I don’t know what happened. Someone might have taken it. Or . . . or . . . What more can I say?” Park Director C. David Hughbanks wondered aloud. “It’s all very mysterious.”
Since New Year’s Eve, when workers opened the park’s locked gates to find the monolith standing on a hill, it has been the talk of Seattle. Hundreds of people have made their way up the hill to stand–contemplating it, softly touching it or sharing stories of the 1968 Stanley Kubrick film and Arthur C. Clarke novel that must have inspired it.
Wonder and awe are powerful emotions and if some enterprising artist is behind the gimmick, we should tip our hats to him.
One small question: The Seattle monolith was in the middle of a public park where people were guaranteed to notice it. Who would have ever found the Red Rock monolith unless by accident?
Perhaps the scientists onboard the helicopter are in on the stunt, or the pilot, or someone at DPS. But these guys were looking for sheep. There would have been no set flight path over federal lands in the middle of the Utah wilderness. And given the inaccessibility of the location of the monolith, the artist is either a person with an overabundance of hope or someone who didn’t care if anyone ever saw his creation.
The latter is not likely given the temperament of most artists.
How fitting would it be to end 2020 with the discovery of alien life? Liberals would accuse the aliens of racism for not putting the monolith in Harlem or something. Feminists would see the monolith as a phallic symbol of male domination and call out the aliens for that. And the left would demand to know if the aliens supported Trump in the election.
Actor and conservative activists James Woods has exactly the right perspective.
“Was the never-ending disaster known as #2020 meant to be a prelude for this awakening of a metaphorical ‘new world?’ While obviously, an art exhibit meant to inspire introspection, I find comfort in its beauty, power, and yes, humor. #UtahMonolith”
So for the moment, we can gaze in awe and wonder and speculate if there’s any chance whatsoever that…well, if it could be not of this earth. Almost certainly not. But it’s fun to imagine it — for some of us anyway.