2001 A Space Odyssey Analysis

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MEANING OF THE MONOLITH A monolithic tale from outer space in the 1960s, has presented a classic example of a multi-discursive object. It is the story of the mysterious monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey (directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1968), a story that extents years of time, from early history to the future and into the infinite. The importance of the theme (monolith) tracks the film’s four episodes, (three of which are titled, documentary style) and casts the monolith as the key narrative connection and antagonist. Beginning from the first episode, ‘The Dawn of Man’: The first thirty minutes of the film, which is in nearly complete silence, follows a prehistoric ape gathering. Out-of-the-blue (quite literally), the apes are visited by a…show more content…
Each has the same colour, the same dimensions and presumably the same mysterious solid materiality, perhaps made out of metal, perhaps made out of some sort of alien super-compound. Therefore, on a simple physical level, our senses can imagine of the monoliths as one-and-the-same thing. However, in the four visitations of the monolith, this big black rectangular alien object continuously became four different objects, or we could say, this alien thing performed as a cultural object within four different discourses, thus, foremost as religious discourse, then a scientific telecommunications discourse, followed by a scientific-vehicular discourse, and finally as an arts of entertainment…show more content…
It is an alien thing because it was something that was not or could not be identified as belonging to any one single enframing discourse. It was alien from all our discourses. It had no discursive home-base, as it were. Kubrick works this to great effect, since we never meet the supposed ‘creators’ of the monoliths (or perhaps the monoliths are sentient beings themselves) and are not given any real clue as to who or what they are, adding to the mystery of the film (and spawning many speculations and discussions since about the meaning of the monoliths and the film more
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