Dan Holdsworth At the Edge of Space, Parts 1–3

17 Feb 2007 - 29 Apr 2007
Slide show: 
Dan Holdsworth
Dan Holdsworth
Dan Holdsworth
Dan Holdsworth, Stills, 2007
Dan Holdsworth, Stills, 2007

At the Edge of Space, Parts 1–3 is an investigation into the possibilities of human knowledge. At the edges of what we
understand – be it the limits of space, time or nature – human consciousness comes into focus. Dan Holdsworth's photographs reveal a sense of the contemporary sublime – his expansive landscapes create a vertiginous pleasure in the immensity of what we do not comprehend. Led by his personal responses to each environment he visits, the artist seeks out locations to photograph through their feel and atmosphere. Using long exposures, Holdsworth’s images reveal the world around us in a way that the human eye could never capture. Filled with both time and timelessness, these photographs offer a window to another world that exists beyond our knowledge and experience.

At the Edge of Space, Parts 1 - 3 focuses on the artist's interest in communicating the invisible realms of time and space, featuring work from the series At the Edge of Space (1999) and The Gregorian (2005) alongside the National Maritime Museum's new commission Hyperborea (2006).

Hyperborea continues Holdsworth’s exploration into the spaces between naturally occurring phenomena and our attempts to understand the edges of our environment. Driving out from the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik and the Andoya Rocket Range in Norway, Holdsworth photographed the night skies filled with the constantly shifting patterns of the Northern Lights, while the earthbound landscape is pinpricked with traces of moving vehicles and human habitation.

Speaking of this new work, Dan Holdsworth describes how:
The experience of photographing the Northern Lights felt like I was entering a different time space. Whilst being alone
in the arctic wilderness, I became aware of the cycle of the Earth. The lights are a visual representation of everything
that we cannot see but which goes on around us all the time. It’s like being given a glimpse of the rhythm of the

The Aurora – the source of countless legends – are colourful displays of light caused by the interaction of charged particles from the solar wind with the upper atmosphere, revealing physical activity beyond the Earth's surface. In Holdsworth’s photographs skies glow green and are punctuated by stars and satellites following the curvature of the Earth, while the desolate landscape is cut through with traces of human existence. These images explore how time and space affect human life and the landscape. Connecting the wilderness of nature with the edge of space, they seem barely possible, yet they reflect the world as it is.

At the Edge of Space is series taken at the European Space Agency's spaceport at Kourou in Guiana, South America. The location is surrounded by verdant equatorial forest and its position in relation to the Earth’s rotation is ideal for space missions. Holdsworth’s photographs show the base within the dense jungle foliage where the surrounding landscape and the sky above seem an endless wilderness. Together with all-white interior spaces reminiscent of a science fiction film, Holdsworth depicts a collision of nature and culture, where the natural world and the limits of the most advanced technology sit side-by-side.

The Gregorian was developed at the Arecibo Space Telescope at the American National Astronomy and Ionosphere Centre, Puerto Rico. This man-made structure is the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope and is capable of picking up the faintest radio waves from the edges of space. From the furthest reaches of universe pulses are recorded that have taken some 100 million years to reach the Earth. Here the faint signals are translated into visible information that can be interpreted to reveal the formation of new planets, track asteroids and describe the edge of known space.

Using camera exposures of up to four hours, the artist has created a series of photographs taken at different times of the day and under different lunar conditions. These exploit the durational quality of still photography to explore the limits of knowledge and experience.


SATURDAY 17 FEBRUARY 1PM - 3PM FREE   Exhibition Open Day & Talk

  SATURDAY 14 APRIL 1PM - 4PM £15 per person

  Colour Pinhole Photography for Adults
SATURDAY 17 FEBRUARY - SUNDAY 29 April 2007 11AM - 6PM FREE   Focus Space ~ in the fields
WEDNESDAY 28 FEBRUARY 6PM £3/£1.50   The Magic Lantern at Stills. Independent film nights showcasing innovative new short films.For full programme details please see www.themagiclantern.org
WEDNESDAY 25 APRIL 6PM £3/£1.50   Focus on Documentary – original, illuminating and varied short works.
WEDNESDAY 2 MAY 7PM £3   Tremors at Stills
THURSDAY 1 MARCH 7PM - 9PM   Scottish Photographers: Portfolio Session



Image Credit Untitled, from Hyperborea, 2006