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

splash art by satellite01.net, ca. 2000
R's and h's in a cluster of computer keys allude to Rhizome's logo. The keys shift fluidly in color across a palette of blue and gray. Cross-hatch lines that fade from black to white and back add dynamism to the surface as they flicker across the screen. The moving elements and changing colors force the viewer's eye to constantly recalibrate its perception of foreground and background, of positive and negative space. All the action distracts from a blue square button tucked at the lower left corner—the only gateway to Rhizome's home page. Satellite01.net is a defunct artists' collective, unrelated to the T-shirt company that now occupies www.satellite01.com.