Thursday, 28 May 2020


According to the director’s original vision, the iconic and arresting prop from the 1968 cinematic adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey and a character in its own right (see previously) was to be a transparent hulking block of acrylic.  After having the two tonne megalith delivered—fulfilled by Stanley Plastics, a speciality company near Portsmouth, it failed the camera test and Stanley Kubrick went with the matte black basalt structure that we’re familiar with.
The Tycho Magnetic Anomaly has an exacting ratio of 1 : 4 : 9—1 : 2² : 3³, suggesting that the sequence extends out beyond our three spatial dimensions. Although the transparent version was mothballed and gathered dust in a studio backlot for years, the rejected prop did see a second career in the hands of Slovakian artist Arthur Fleischmann (*1896 – †1990), who was generally besotted with modern materials like Lucite and Perspex (also creating the UK Pavilion for Expo70) carved it into a sparkling “Crystal Crown,” unveiled by the Queen herself on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee. The commemorative artefact can still be visited at St. Katherine Docks just downstream of the Tower of London.  More to explore at Amusing Planet at the link above.