In a sense, my grandmother was living in the Iron Age. There was no system of writing among the nomads. Metal artifacts were rare and precious.... The first time she saw a white person my grandmother was in her thirties: she thought this person's skin had burned off.
Can the vast technology beneath our gaze be anything but a representation? Any optical artifact... The city panorama is a theoretical (ie visual) simulacrum: in short, a picture, of which the preconditions for feasibility are forgetfulness and a misunderstanding of processes.
Despite not knowing if what he felt from moment to moment would pass or last forever, he entered fully into his shifting states of violent rage, self-pity, longing, heartbreak, cynicism, without losing the ability to think about what was happening to him. That took courage, I thought, living with the suffering in a mindful way, as an artifact of being, neither good nor bad.
A civilization without retail bookstores is unimaginable. Like shrines and other sacred meeting places, bookstores are essential artifacts of human nature. The feel of a book taken from the shelf and held in the hand is a magical experience, linking writer to reader.
SF is an opportunity to have an intense relationship with your own imagination. It's a kind of drive-by poetry, trashy and addictive; it's fun. After that, for me, it's an opportunity to explore that kind of imaginative artifact from inside, and use a little camped-up contemporary science as a way of generating new metaphors around my typical obsessions.
I think the more music becomes something you could simply download and have on your iPod, I think to a lot of people that is plenty, but to some people, they still want these artifacts that are touchable, and you can smell them, and look at them, and hold them and just have other dimensions of experience with this music.