Why Did Stanley Kubrick Choose to Depict Alien Life in “2001” With a Collage of Singing Voices?

In The Cosmic Connection, the late astronomer Carl Sagan says that Clarke and Kubrick consulted with him on how to show extraterrestrial life. Kubrick apparently wanted some kind of humanoid representation, but Sagan argued that such alien life forms would not resemble our understanding of a physical life form. Rather than introduce “an element of falseness,” Sagan advised Kubrick to suggest alien life rather than show it.

Later, in a 1968 interview, Kubrick said that given millions of years of evolution, they decided that the alien life featured in the film evolved from physical entities to “immortal machine entities”, and then into “beings of pure energy and spirit,” with “limitless capabilities and ungraspable intelligence.”