Artifact Quotes (displaying: 1 - 10 of 23 quotes )
The best artifact was the calendar of the ancients, a great carved piece of stone as big as a kitchen, circular, bolted to the wall like a giant clock. In the center was an angry face looking out, as if he'd come through that stone from some other place to have a look at us, and not very pleased about it.
Our interpreting the universe as an artifact absolutely requires that we posit an author for it, or a celestial fimmaker, dramatist, painter, sculptor, composer, architect, or choreographer. And no one has been willing openly to posit such an artist for the universe since the American transcedentalists and before them the Medieval European philosophers.
For all the allure of speciously stress-free suburbs, for all the grinding of city life, cities endure. And when all those diverse energies are harnessed, and those choices, private and public, cohere, and all the bargains made in a million ways every day hold up, then a city flourishes and is the most stimulating center for life, and the most previous artifact, a culture can create. Think of great cities large and small (size, as with any work of art, does not necessarily determine value) and, in addition to nodes of government, commerce, law, hospitals, libraries, and newspapers will come to mind, as will restaurants and theaters and houses of worship and museums and opera houses and galleries and universities. And so will stadia and arenas and parks. In short, once finds not simply commerce but culture, not simply work but leisure, not only negotium but otium, not simply that which ennobles but also that which perfects us. Such has forever been the ultimate purpose of a city, to mirror our higher state, not simply to shelter us from wind and rain. As with leisure, so with the city: It is the setting to make us not the best that Nature can make us, but to manifest the best we, humankind, adding Art to Nature, can make us.
He lifted the slice of cake and bit into it and turned the page. The old musty album with its foxed and crumbling paper seemed to breathe a reek of the vault, turning up one by one these dead faces with their wan and loveless gaze out toward the spinning world, masks of incertitude before the cold glass eye of the camera or recoiling before this celluloid immortality or faces simply staggered into gaga by the sheer velocity of time. Old distaff kin coughed up out of the vortex, thin and cracked and macled and a bit redundant. The landscapes, old backdrops, redundant too, recurring unchanged as if they inhabited another medium than the dry pilgrims shored up on them. Blind moil in the earth's nap cast up in an eyeblink between becoming and done. I am, I am. An artifact of prior races.
The book itself is a curious artifact, not showy in its technology but complex and extremely efficient: a really neat little device, compact, often very pleasant to look at and handle, that can last decades, even centuries. It doesn't have to be plugged in, activated, or performed by a machine; all it needs is light, a human eye, and a human mind. It is not one of a kind, and it is not ephemeral. It lasts. It is reliable. If a book told you something when you were fifteen, it will tell it to you again when you're fifty, though you may understand it so differently that it seems you're reading a whole new book."(Staying Awake: Notes on the alleged decline of reading, Harper's Magazine, February 2008)
I’m lying on a Star Wars bedspread,” said a dry voice behind them, “Will I ever be able to look myself in the eye again?” They all turned. “By the fact that I’m not on Rashah,” Ronan said, looking about him, “but instead apparently in suburban hell, and in contact with this dubious cultural artifact, I take it we won?