Everything your computer does is math. Every frame displayed is the end result of a string of math problems. Introduce the wrong number somewhere in the calculation and the end result can look far different than it's supposed to.
Artifacts imply instability, but instability does not necessarily imply damage.
Anything that causes instability can cause artifacts; memory or GPU being too hot, not getting enough voltage, or being damaged/degraded, etc.
Static electricity can potentially do damage, which could potentially cause instability, which may show up as artifacting.
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