There’s something very peaceful about looking at the earth from a different angle. You can forget about the mundane things in life, like cornflakes and taxes, and appreciate what we’ve made of this world – both the good and the bad. Dan Holdsworth’s new project Transmissions: New Remote Earth Views has made me appreciate it even more. The Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Mount Shasta, Mount St. Helens, Salt Lake City and Park City appear snow-covered and deserted but really they’re digitally-rendered laser scans of the earth adapted from United States Geological Survey data (used mainly to track climate and land changes).
The scientific approach highlights man’s influence on nature and how we’ve shaped and filled it – not just geographically but also ideologically and politically, demonstrated by Holdsworth’s focus on areas that boast conflicting legacies and histories. Contrasted with these vast spaces, we find meaning in the absence of everything as well as the existing knowledge we have of them.
Like his Blackout series we featured in 2010, the Transmission prints, currently showing at Brancolini Gimaldi, are big and impressive (as they need to be if only to allude to the scale of these terrains in real life). And there’s a precision in the layout of the exhibition that emphasises a collision of art and science which really works. The empirical nature of how the pieces were achieved against the barren landscapes is so ambiguously captivating it’s the type of project you can spend hours looking at.