A giant, mysterious metal plate has captured the attention of millions, as people speculate how such a structure would have appeared in a remote part of southern Utah.
The object was first spotted last week by a helicopter pilot and wildlife officers who were flying over the rugged area for an annual bighorn count for the state. He immediately made comparisons with the 2001 Monolith: A Space Odyssey as well as invite suggestions that could be the work of aliens.
The pilot of the helicopter, Brett Hutchings, had a chance to see the large metal plate up close and guessed that it might have been the work of an artist.
“I’m assuming he’s a New Wave artist or something, or, you know, someone who was big in 2001: Space Odyssey fan,” Hutchings told the local news station, KSLTV, which published the first report on the board.
The work has been compared to the works of many simple sculptors, including artist John McCracken, who died in 2011. His gallery owner, David Zwerner, told The Guardian that the mysterious purpose was not his work.
A spokesman for David Zwerner said: “While this is not the work of the late American artist John McCracken, we suspect that it was the work of a fellow artist praising McCracken.”
One thing that is known is that without a license, it is illegal to install structures or artwork on federally managed public lands, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS). This is true, “no matter which planet you belong to,” the agency said in a statement.
The agency said it does not plan to reveal the exact location of the object. “It is in a very remote area, and if individuals try to visit the area, there is a high possibility that they are stranded and need to be rescued,” DPS said.
That hasn’t stopped Reddit users from identifying his potential whereabouts, as well as discussing theories about the ways an object might have been there and why.
Upon zooming in on photos of the structure, Reddit users noticed lines from its base indicating that a rock saw was used to place it into the ground and appear to have been bolted together, dispelling the theory that it could be a large large piece of metal.
The structure also caused controversy in the geographer, who raised a problem with the Utah government using the word “monolith” to describe the object.
The monolithic block is technically a geographical feature made of stone, while this slab appears to be made of metal. Nevertheless, the Merriam-Webster dictionary allows for a more flexible interpretation of the monolith as a “colossal structure” which is the word used to describe the director of the hull made famous by Stanley Kubrick in 2001: Spaceflight.
It’s weird how these always end up in places like the picturesque and mysterious places like Utah rather than, say, a residential property in Merthyr Tydfil or the foyer of a modestly priced hotel in Bangalore. https://t.co/HODzFmP8tG
– Ian Hall (@DryanHall) November 23, 2020
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