The old parking meters are mostly gone, street-corner signs aren't so convenient, and you need a place to lock your bicycle. At Seattle Center especially, bike racks—if you can find them—tend to be full during events. Susan Robb has a solution, commissioned by SDOT and installed temporarily as part of the Center's 50th-anniversary celebration. Just north of the EMP, her galvanized metal Parking Squid is there to receive your wheels. It is, disappointingly, smaller than expected (that's my bike for scale in the photo). Giant squids make me think of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, with James Mason battling the evil beast with its murderous eye and snapping beak. Small squids are cute; they're sushi. Giant squids ought to be frightening monsters. As a few small children pass by, none seems remotely concerned by Robb's metal Architeuthis, which is topped by a humiliatingly whimsical bike wheel, almost like a halo. Giant squids don't have halos! They eat children for breakfast! And where's the beak? Also, they have more and longer tentacles—which this squid will need come Bumbershoot. It's not the most attractive rack in Seattle (I like the sail-shaped hoops at the Frank Russell headquarters on Second Avenue), but it's certainly preferable to those cage-like bike corrals. And the city needs more bike racks, closer to building entrances, to incentivize cycling. SDOT ought to commission an entire menagerie from Robb, whose cephalopod will later move to a location to be determined. I know just the place: Pier 59, right in front of the Seattle Aquarium.
Seattle Center, Fifth Avenue & Harrison Street entrance, seattlecenter.com. On view through Oct. 21.