2001 Space Odyssey (1968)

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The Slabs

After watching the movie, one can notice that various book edition companies worldwide have published Clarke intial story (1965-1968). These books have the monolith on their cover page (for instance "J’ai Lu" edition, december 19th 1975 and april 25th 2001).

1975 edition


2001 edition


This is how we notice very quickly and with surprise that the monolith is the keystone of the movie. Without the monolith, the prehominian would stay a great ape who will never take part of the adventure to Jupiter. So there would be no movie.

The movie "collagen" ie what fill in blanks between sequences where the monolith, which influences and leads the operation, shows up contains elements pulled from NASA technology (gravity within the space shuttle, magnetic shoes ...). The secondary storyline is expressed through the personality of HAL, the computer which controls the expedition to Jupiter and which decides that the crew is not able to conduct the operation and tries to take over the full controle of it.

Surprisingly there is a really similarity between monolith slabs of the movie and those created few years earlier since 1957 by the contemporay artist Georges Yatridès, especially in the following paintings:


« l’adolescent et l’enfant », 100x81 cm, 1963, Private Collection, France


« le petit port à la plaque », 60x92 cm, 1965, Personal Collection, USA


« Chris, Leica et Orange », 92x73 cm, 1963, Private Collection, France


« Nude in a life », 60x92cm, 1962

Nude In A Life

« Régénération », 92x65cm, 1962


« Les Deux Personnages sur la plage », 65x100 cm, 1963, Personal Collection, France



From the last paintings we can only conclude that first when one's watching Kubrick's slab in 2001 Space Odyssey, one's watching Yatrides' monolith slabs as well. Secondly how a contemporary living artist was able not to ask for property rights specially if we take into account the movie considered as a blockbuster when it was released?

The monolith slab and the 4 millions years prehominians

The slab shows up in a middle of a group of prehominans among which one of them will receive the directions to design the first tool, first weapon and first crime of one of his like and will finally fulfill his primary needs.

The monolith slab and the Kubrick XXth century scientists

The slab conitnues its work. It acts toward its own discovery on the lunar soil from which it is excavated by terrestrians Russian American astronauts. It transmits few information to the US astronauts who observe it. One of them wants to touch it, but the information amplitude is so intense that they all fall into a temporary coma.

The monolith slab and the incorruptible survival

Information gathered by humans on the lunar soil leads them to a mission to Jupiter. Only one of them Bowman arrives at the final destination, blinding anachronical habitation in which a stepped-up process to death takes place for him. When death occurs Bowman comes back to embryonic state in a transparent shell egg and is propelled back to the Earth along with several monoliths.

Movie extracts