The Macksey Journal


Stanley Kubrick's watershed film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is epic in its undertaking. In just under three hours, Kubrick attempts to capture the totality of human history, beginning before the evolution of humankind as we know it and ending in a kind of post-physical dream space. The question of the environment's role weighs heavily throughout, as humankind becomes increasingly divorced from the Earth and begins a love affair with the wider universe. This affair is, of course, mediated. It is possible only because of suits and ships, tools invented by and for humans that allow them to exist within environments that are fundamentally hostile and foreign. By placing the film in conversation with James Gibson's article, "The Environment to be Perceived" and Greta Gaard's essay, "Toward a Queer Ecofeminism" among others, this paper explores the importance of the environment within 2001. In doing so, it becomes clear that, while it is often held up as a spectacle of technology because of both its form and its content, the film ultimately argues against the divorce of humankind from the natural environment.