R&D 11 | Newfangled Spanner

Newfangled Spanner

This artwork considers the experience of an ordinary person. This person, imagined in a garden shed or toy-room, tries to make sense of the world through his drawings and toy-like assemblages. These hobby ‘projects’ enable him to better cope with and relate to the technological and incomprehensible objects that now surrounds and govern our daily lives


This project is funded by a ‘Research and Development’ grant from the Arts Council of Wales. This support has enabled me with a period of time to be more experimental in my working method.The project which has been documented through this series of Blog posts, has culminated for now in a short exhibition at CAT, created in collaboration with Ben Lloyd


My main aim throughout this project has been to try out new methods of thinking about, making and presenting my work. Specifically I have focused on a methodology that encourages the medium of play, colour, adaption and versatility of presentation.


The overall inspiration for this projects theme has come mainly from living so close to the Centre for Alternative Technology, in West Wales.  Overtime, the centre has established within our community (amongst other things), an atmosphere focused on engineering as well as environmentalism.

CAT’s short courses such as those that have demonstrated How to build a wind powered turbine, include for example learning skills needed to carve wooden turbine blades. To me this blade-shaping science could also be thought of as a method to represent and encapsulate the wind in condensed and crude, physical form.

As a visually minded person I began then to imagine technology as being essentially just manifested moments of natural forces. It later occurred to me that this overly simplified way of thinking was no more sophisticated than my own two-year-old son’s take-it-for-granted view of the world.

To imagine technology so literally is useful on some occasions, such as with these turbine blades, or in comparing electrical flow to the flow of a river.. Yet mostly the analogy fails to represent whatsoever the complexities and mysteries of either science or nature.


Like most people I am bewildered by present day technology. Ultimately I have come to the conclusion that even basic knowledge (in the sense of true understanding), cannot be rationalised and is unobtainable to me. I think that Art, through abstract metaphor can help to express the unexplainable and therefore contributes towards a language for better discussing the stuff of the Universe.


I think of my abstract artwork to be not unlike a landscape painters attempts to capture the beauty of a landscape. Each is essentially, mostly about the language of aesthetics and serves no practical purpose beyond expressing a human fascination with anything and everything. Yet science, as with art relates to beauty as being an undefinable constant, as in – it is an idea only. Beauty as in relativity theory, or as in what is beautiful, momentarily exists perhaps only in the eye of the beholder.




This blog-post forms a part of an Arts council funded ‘Research and Development’ project.

The artists involved are Daniel May, working in collaboration with the Ben Lloyd

This project is sponsored by The Arts Council of Wales

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