In my senior year of high school (last year), I was a visual design major. In most of the years before that, the teacher had her students do a few big projects each year; however, in my year, we got a huge proposal from the principal to create a piece of public art that represents our mission statement to hang in the school. It was very important to the principal that a lot of work went into its production, so before any sketching, we spent the whole first semester doing market research on how to create the perfect piece. We had to make sure that it would not only represent our large body of students, but "stand the test of time." That exact quote was written on every brainstorm sheet.
I bring this up because Naimark's student's remark about surviving time reminded me of how true it is (in my opinion) that artists cannot only make art for the now -- after researching for so long, I learned that we have to predict how people will interpret our pieces in the future, and strategically plan around that so they aren't forgotten. If the piece won't have cultural or social significance come the next generation of artists, is it worth making at all? Artists shape artists; first word art depends on last word art, and vice versa. I agree that when work is technologically novel, it can age poorly, but that's only if people aren't willing to accept that this is the direction our cultures and societies are moving toward. It's important for artists themselves to be adaptable to changing times, and as a result they learn how to make their art robust. I think it's ultimately more important for artists to make first word than last word because we will no longer learn anything if we stop experimenting and innovating.