Splash art originated in the 1940s in comics, where the term referred to a full page of visuals at the front of a book. Pages were designed to engage the reader's imagination along the lines of the comic's broader concept, while standing independent from the narrative. In the late 1990s, when the widespread use of the application Flash opened up new possibilities for animation and interactive media, the idea of the splash page migrated to web design. Online splash art brought visual excitement to a webpage when low modem speeds made it impractical to post large or moving images amid a site's textual content.

Rhizome introduced splash pages to its web site in 1998 in order to display artwork with greater immediacy....

Launch Project

Knock Knock, 1997/1998

Launch Project

Extreme Beauty (WOA > File > Avalanche), 2000
An active member of net art community at large and Rhizome in particular, Yael Kanarek made two contributions to the splash project over the course of its duration. The first is a black screen, with simple, brightly colored animated .gifs and sampled still images emerging from the dark depths alongside sea creatures. The second repurposes visuals from World of Awe, Kanarek's interactive story of a traveler's search of lost treasure that sends the reader on a parallel, metaphorical journey through virtual space. Here, a fuzzy shadow of a desktop meets the image of an arid wasteland. Desktop icons are barely legible in the haze. Both Knock Knock and Extreme Beauty present the web as an empty, isolating place.