On or about New Year's Eve
-- the cusp
between the year
and 2001 CE
-- a person
or persons unknown placed a 9-foot-tall steel monolith
in Magnuson Park
, a city park in Seattle
. This monolith is very similar to -- and almost certainly placed in homage of -- the monoliths in Arthur C. Clarke
's masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey
. Its dimensions, 1 foot
by 4 feet
by 9 feet, echo the 1:4:9
dimensional ratios of the Space Odyssey monoliths.
City officials are somewhat confused as to how anyone could have placed it without their knowledge -- one or two people have joking suggested benevolent extraterrestrials who wish to inspire the next stage of human evolution, and have chosen Seattle as the logical place for its beginning.
Since the thing is obviously welded steel of human manufacture, this is rather unlikely. Even so, the monolith's placement is a wonderful idea, and I am extremely pleased someone has done this. The Seattle city park rangers are taking steps to stabilize and preserve the monolith, and it looks like it might be allowed to remain as a permanent piece of public art maintained by the city, which would also please me greatly.
The Monolith is yet another example of Seattle's great tradition of anonymous art. Most public art in Seattle is singularly bland, but there is a lively tradition of anonymous art thanks to the strong culture jamming undercurrents here. Most of the more interesting and controversial public art pieces were placed quite anonymously, and city officials have thankfully allowed most of these to remain in place.