“At the same time, the very vastness of space acts as a strong discouragement; people complain that they cannot visualize the interstellar or intergalactic scale, and so refuse to investigate the matter further. This is as short-sighted as it is sad. In the first place there is no need to ‘visualize’ the universe in order to gain some idea of its workings—for no astronomer can really comprehend the enormity of his field of study. It is simply a matter of getting used to dealing with very large units of distance. On the Earth we might arbitrarily define 1 foot as a small distance, 1/1,000th of a millimetre as a very small distance. The astronomical equivalents of ‘very small’ and ‘small’ could be 1 mile and 1 light-year (5,880,000,000,000 miles). We can no more imagine 1/1,000th of a millimetre than a million miles—but no one is afraid of looking through a microscope! And at the same time there is no doubt which is the more impressive.”—James Muirden, from Stars & Planets: An Introduction to the Wonders of Modern Astronomy (1964). I found this book at a thrift store this weekend. The style of writing is very much like Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything.
“The paradox and contradiction that is made apparent by these anecdotes defines much of the art of the last 50 years; art that has found itself by questioning authorship, authenticity and identity. It’s a questioning that ranges across many issues: the authority and meaning of the signature; the use of found source material as copy or theft; the adoption of a strategy of simulation within the conception of the work; a re-questioning in those terms of the status and usefulness of the Duchampian readymade that itself refers directly, through the act of nomination, to the role of the signature; the definition of the copy in terms of the relationship to a primary source that has been lifted to new use, the repetition of such an act, or even the representation of the act of repetition as a form of copy.”—from “‘This is Not By Me’: Andy Warhol and the Question of Authorship” by Andrew Wilson