“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent.”
– Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey is still considered to be the apotheosis of the genre by many people around the world. It is a pioneering work of art which requires no introduction, made by one of the most unique and accomplished filmmakers in the history of cinema.
The film, which follows a voyage to Jupiter, delves deep into subjects such as human evolution, existentialism, technology and artificial intelligence and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. The film synopsis reads: “An imposing black structure provides a connection between the past and the future in this enigmatic adaptation of a short story by revered sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke. When Dr. Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) and other astronauts are sent on a mysterious mission, their ship’s computer system, HAL, begins to display increasingly strange behaviour, leading up to a tense showdown between man and machine that results in a mind-bending trek through space and time.”
While regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, the screenplay, written by both Kubrick and the great Arthur C. Clarke, sees the film loosely based on Clarke’s short story ‘The Sentinel’ and follows a voyage to Jupiter and tackles themes from existentialism to the possibility of extraterrestrial life in the process. While many have attempted to pay homage to Kubrick, very few have made the film relatable to current times.
As a celebration of Kubrick’s enduring vision, NYC designer Lydia Cambron recreated the final scenes of 2001 during the lockdown with what she had at home. Described as “a minor saga of quarantine and isolation”, Cambron titled the piece 2020: An Isolation Odyssey. Instead of an astronaut suit, the short film features Cambron in red sweatpants, a hoodie and a face-mask navigating the emptiness of her Brooklyn apartment. “Restaged in the context of home quarantine,” Cambron wrote, “the journey through time adapts to the mundane dramas of self-isolation–poking fun at the navel-gazing saga of life alone and indoors.”
It is interesting to see the artistic reshaping of Kubrick’s epic to portray the silent stagnation of our daily lives brought about by a global pandemic. Cambron commented on what she wanted to convey, “The narrowness of daily life in a single space, transitioning from confusion to acceptance, a distorted sense of time, and ‘returning’ after a transformational event – all experiences analogous to quarantine.”
Watch the short film here: