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....

Organized by Brian Droitcour, Rhizome Curatorial Fellow

I'd like to acknowledge several members of the Rhizome staff and community for their roles in the making of "Splashback." Rhizome's founder Mark Tribe and its first Director of Technology Alex Galloway initiated the project and commissioned the pages. More recently, they spoke to me about the splash project and provided valuable insight into its development. Current Director of Technology Nick Hasty updated obsolete code on several splash pages to make them ready for display. Artist Patrick Lichty volunteered to read over the texts and supplied information about pages' titles and dates of creation that my research failed to turn up. The archives hosted by Nettime and Furtherfield were useful in digging up information on artists whose work is no longer online. Rhizome's former Director of Technology Patrick May and former Curatorial Fellow Billy Rennekamp laid the foundation for my work by putting together the list of splash pages and compiling contact information for many of the artists, respectively. Executive Director Lauren Cornell and Senior Editor Ceci Moss provided advice and support throughout the exhibition's preparation.

-Brian Droitcour

About Rhizome
Rhizome is dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology. Our programs, many of which happen online, include commissions, exhibitions, events, discussion, archives and portfolios. We support artists working at the furthest reaches of technological experimentation as well as those responding to the broader aesthetic and political implications of new tools and media.

Rhizome's public programs are supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and The Rockefeller Foundation's NYC Cultural Innovation Fund.