1 April 2002
a-n Magazine (p.7)

Minus 20‘ is a series of nine commissions from web-based www.e-2.org. When the call went out for submissions, the main consideration was that any work submitted had to be less than a 20kb file size, thereby removing the often torturous downloading time.

The selected artists don’t all restrict their practice to new technologies and this comes through in the humour and inventiveness of the work – the projects seem less to do with what a computer can do than what it actually does do.

In Anna Williams and John Rogers Toys, we appear to have stumbled upon the immediate aftermath of a sinister event in cartoon land. A group of cartoon animals blink and stare out at us from the monitor whilst a syringe, a gun and a pool of blood loiter suspiciously in the fore ground – a kind of Itchy and Scratchy meets Big Brother.

In Minus 20kJ Ellie Harrison counts us down through the time that various foods would be capable of powering our computers. A cherry tomato, at five kilo joules would apparently provide energy for about twelve seconds whereas the heftier peanut, at seventeen kilojoules would power our computer for some forty-two seconds.

Christopher Otto’s timeascolor counts us through the work in a different way. Faced with a square and the time the square appears to be completely black. As the minute passes the square gradually changes, almost imperceptibly, from black to blue having an almost Rothko like effect on the monitor. It becomes apparent that the seconds are ticking us through hues of blue. the minutes green and the hours red.

All nine projects are worth a look and speaking as someone who still views web-based art with an air of caution, ‘Minus 20‘ definitely seems to be moving in the right direction.

S Mark Gubb