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Wednesday, 3 January, 2001, 02:50 GMT
Mysterious monolith marks 2001
Monolith in Seattle AP
Monolith in Magnuson Park: Who planted it?
A black, steel monolith nearly three metres high has mysteriously appeared in a park in the American city of Seattle.

The unmarked sculpture, planted on a grassy knoll in Magnuson Park, seems to have been put in place on New Year's Eve.

It is believed to be a reference to the black monoliths featured in the classic science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey, a collaboration between director Stanley Kubrick and writer Arthur C Clarke.

As in the film, the appearance of the black structure raises questions, the most obvious one: who is its creator?

Unanswered questions

The hollow monolith placed on the park's Kite Hill bears no plaque. The only traces left are several plastic bottle-caps littered around the sculpture.

Local press reports quote park visitors joking about "intelligence increasing by the moment" with the presence of the monolith, a clear reference to the film.

Monoliths play a central role in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and there are many interpretations of their meaning and origins.

The film begins with feuding apes, which learn to use bones to kill each other after finding a black monolith.

Top secret

Time then flashes forward three million years, and the bone evolves into a spaceship.

In the film, a scientist flies to the Moon to examine another mysterious monolith, which is buried below the surface.

Eighteen months later, in a top-secret mission to Jupiter, the ship's "foolproof" computer Hal 9000 kills the crew - except one man, Bowman, who manages to disconnect it.

Finally, Bowman sees another floating monolith, is drawn into a stargate, and watches himself age and die before transforming into a foetus-like star child orbiting the Earth.

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See also:

01 Jan 01 | Entertainment
2001 Space Odyssey: Was Kubrick right?
09 Mar 99 | UK
Kubrick: A film odyssey
26 May 00 | South Asia
Arthur C Clarke knighted
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