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On or about New Year's Eve -- the cusp between the years 2000 and 2001 CE -- a person or persons unknown placed a 9-foot-tall steel monolith in Magnuson Park, a city park in Seattle, Washington. 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.

Sadly, the mysteriously-appearing Seattle Monolith has mysteriously disappeared. Park officials said only some burned candles and a rose were in its place.

Workers at Magnuson Park discovered the monolith missing the morning of January 3, 2001. No one has yet claimed credit for installing or removing the monolith.


BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

The day after the monolith disappeared, it reappeared at Duck Island in Green Lake.

A group of artists known as "Some People" came forward to claim responsibility for the project and said they spent months planning the monumental erection. The group also denied responsibility for moving the statue to Duck Island, which is about 50 yards off the shore of Green Lake. They also said they would like to reclaim the monolith, but they have no way to retrieve it from the island.

The Seattle Monolith was created by Some People's Army in December and planted at Magnuson Park on New Year's Eve. It was part of our celebration of 2001, featuring a giant freak-filled parade from Broadway to Downtown. The parade was planned to feature a wooden monolith full of fireworks to be burned at Pike Place at midnight, but the police weren't too hip on the idea. The metal monolith was a side project which, suprisingly, garnered international media attention. When our little art joke was stolen by unknown people, members of Some People were forced to come forward in order to get our sculpture back, and put it where we first planted it. We got it back with the help of the Parks Dept, using two boats and a section of floating dock. How our mysterious enemies got the thing out there is as much a mystery as their identity. Now, unfortunately, militant kite-flyers are complaining that our monolith will get in their way at the top of Kite Hill in Magnuson. I say that if you can't fly a kite AROUND a nine-foot monoltih, then it's not working.

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