Mysterious Monoliths: Contact with Aliens or Art?


“Alien” by kevin dooley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

William French

Over the last month, a mystery shook the internet. A three sided, 12-foot-tall metallic monolith was spotted in southeastern Utah by the Utah Department of Public Safety on November 18. Sci-fi fans drew connections to the monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the film, a monolith is discovered by apes and represents the evolution of the human race. The monolith appears on a moon in the film as well, predicting the advancement of human technology by the year 2001. There are many other interpretations of the monolith in A Space Odyssey, but it should be noted that one of the more important details about the monolith is that its origin and meaning is unknown. So when another monolith appeared in Romania on November 27 and one in California on December 2, the possibility of a sci-fi connection became more and more intriguing. 


Since the discoveries of the monoliths, some internet observers questioned whether the structures came from aliens, while others guessed it was a marketing scheme for a company launching a new product. A group of vandals took matters into their own hands and livestreamed the destruction of the monolith in California. One of them could be heard saying “We don’t want illegal aliens from Mexico, or outer space.” 


Did anyone ever find out whether or not it was aliens that created this monolith? Since the disappearance of the Utah monolith, an artist group called “The Most Famous Artist” has taken credit for it. Matty Mo, the founder of the group, posted pictures of the creation of the monolith on Twitter with the caption, “You mean it wasn’t aliens?” The pictures from the art collective confirm that at least one of the monoliths was an art piece. In fact, the placement of the monolith without any publicity is called guerrilla art. Guerrilla art is the anonymous installation of ordinary objects transformed into art in public spaces. For example, Banksy is a famous guerilla artist who uses spray paint to make political statements in public locations. Not all guerrilla art, however, has to be political like the work of Banksy. Some guerrilla art can enhance the way we see our surroundings. Although the Utah monolith wasn’t created by aliens, its purpose could have been a message to appreciate the beauty of our Earthly surroundings, or to make something otherworldly out of the mundane.


The Most Famous Artist has claimed credit for the Utah monolith, and the California monolith has been destroyed, however, no one has taken responsibility for the creation of the monolith in Romania yet. Perhaps the mystery of the monolith is not over after all…*cue X-Files theme.*