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

sigma6 for RHIZOME INTERNET, ca. 1999
Sigma6's splash page remixes the old Rhizome logo, which spelled out the organization's name in keys from a black keyboard. In a three-by-six grid, keys are centered in blocks of matte color and interspersed with thumbnail images. The pictures on the top row show scenes of urban life, the middle includes natural phenomena, while the bottom is occupied by works of art or instances of representation. In this arrangement, Rhizome spans culture, nature, and art. Sigma6 was an interactive media company established in Detroit in the late 1990s; its founders have disbanded and started other companies.