The Rolls-Royce Art Program commissioned artist and visionary photographer Dan Holdsworth to create Acceleration Structures. Acceleration Structures explores Europe’s most sublime but inhospitable landscapes in radically new ways through advanced technology, underpinned by scientific research and personal endeavour.
Rolls-Royce identifies with Holdworth’s restless fascination to capture not only the perfection of nature—in this case in the form of vast expansive landscapes—but also a desire to depict these landscapes in the most technological and precise manner. These attributes resonate with Rolls-Royce, echoing the brand’s constant desire to innovate, to advance and to further the realms of precision in each and every Rolls-Royce motor car.
Holdsworth uses photogrammetry, mapping and extracting spatial co-ordinates, to realise a three-dimensional wireframe creating a stunning X-ray effect of three Mont Blanc Alpine glaciers, namely Argentiére, Bossons and Bionnassay. The glaciers are geo-mapped using scientific instruments at the very fore of their field.
Acceleration Structures supports Holdsworth’s project to uncover unseen parts of the world, through an innovative form of ‘cameraless photography’: ‘photogrammetry’. These three-dimensional wireframe models are created through a combination of intense fieldwork where the artist documents every square foot of a particular area using hundreds of images; and through a pioneering use of high-end software in his studio. The software correlates data from the entire series of images to project measurements of every part of the land, which then allows the artist to create a model of it in virtual space.
Acceleration Structures continues the quest for an ever more exacting understanding of the world that has characterised the whole history of photography. For the writer Roland Barthes, the entire history of photography is defined by the relentless quest for ever greater precision: “photographic implements were [always] related to …the machinery of precision”. Holdsworth’s ‘cameraless photography’ offers us a new standard for measuring the infinite beauty of the natural world, in its every intricacy and astonishing detail. It is one of the first artworks to reveal a way of seeing unique to the twenty-first century.