Artifacts

“Naked I came into the world, but brush strokes cover me, language raises me, music rhythms me. Art is my rod and staff, my resting place and shield, and not mine only, for art leaves nobody out. Even those from whom art has been stolen away by tyranny, by poverty, begin to make it again. If the arts did not exist, at every moment, someone would begin to create them, in song, out of dust and mud, and although the artifacts might be destroyed, the energy that creates them is not destroyed.”
- Jeanette Winterson

via Whiskey River

“Artifacts are the physical manifestation of dreams, ideas, and great deeds … some point to successes, some point to great mistakes.” — Bruce Wells

“Perhaps we will learn how small differences in the code of life enabled us — but not chimpanzees — to cook soufflés, create symphonies, translate our own voyages into maps, build ever more complicated artifacts, and write plays that reflect the social intricacies of our lives,” — Marc Hauser

“The muddy waters roiled by Katrina have no doubt flooded some legendary musical locales and wiped out irreplaceable artifacts of New Orleans music. Among the hardest hit areas were the poverty-stricken African-American neighborhoods, where the New Orleans musical traditions are all but woven into the tattered but colorful fabric of everyday life. But the music of Crescent City as well as the people who create it — and the spirit, soul, originality, independence and distinctive locality of that art and the musicians who create it — cannot be washed away, no matter what the category hurricane or depth of flood. It’s going to take some time, but it will come back … We’ve got to put it back because it’s so involved with the local economy and the United States.” — Art Neville

I think for most of us our art is stolen away by what we perceive as our lack of time, the importance of our daily lives or the habits of our routines. Our culture doesn’t place a high priority on making time for art. And yet, many of us persist, with a bit of music, a snatch of song, even just a thought of what we might paint or draw or photograph if we got a moment. Taking the time to create those artifacts in the real world might be beyond us, but perhaps we can start to sneak it back in again, a tiny bit at a time. I love that our new gadgets and phones and toys are beginning to contain cameras, so we can record those fleeting moments that grab our attention. Perhaps next will be those ultra portable touch pads to sketch on, or ways to record our songs on the fly, or create spontaneous poetry slams as we perform and record our poetry wherever we like. Will our culture begin to value more creative work from all of us, let us weave it into the fabric of our daily lives, or just keep honoring the few who can successfully make art their lives’ work?