"Our work is here, and then it's gone. This may be the most important archive of our industry, preserving some aspect of what we do. An amazing combination of design, utility, style, humor, whimsy, boredom and motion theory." —juror Glen Sheehan
"What a great walk down memory lane. Now that things are loading faster and faster, we will eventually loose this 'art form.' Thankfully someone is archiving this stuff." —juror Hilary Read
Overview: Although Internet connection speed is on the rise, slower connections sometimes mean the 100 percent figure can be slow to arrive. Once it does, the beloved (or bemoaned) preloader vanishes instantly. As technology continues to sprint forth, the preloader is loading faster and faster. This digital archive pays homage to what will one day cease to exist. Pretty Loaded is both a digital museum and a tribute to a rapidly evolving medium. It is an infinitely loading Web site in which each preloader reveals another. Big Spaceship created and curates the whimsical collection in order to capture and document the preloader, a key component of interactive communications.
• Big Spaceship launched Pretty Loaded in January of 2009 with the help of other artists and agencies in the digital community. Within the first 24 hours, it welcomed tens of thousands of visitors and gained plenty of attention in the press and on Twitter.
• Filters allow for viewing the more than 100 preloaders by year, showcasing the progression of design and development throughout the last decade.
Comments by Michael Lebowitz, Big Spaceship founder/CEO:
How did this project compare with others you've worked on in the past? "This project was an internal effort. We are constantly experimenting and Pretty Loaded is one of several projects that have grown out of this process. So while it's the first 'museum' we've created, experimentation is part of our daily culture. Much of what is created online is ephemeral. Decades from now, which aspects of the digital revolution will we be able to look back on? The preloader is one of several digital components that will quickly drop off the radar. It's that reality that initiated the idea for Pretty Loaded. Plus, we love the little details of what we do and thought it would be interesting to try to preserve one of them."
What was your vision for project? "To understand the functionality of Pretty Loaded from a technical standpoint, it helps to separate in your mind the actual loading of content from the content itself. In the case of Pretty Loaded, the content is artwork representing loading progress. Once a loader is loaded, the engine tells the main loader to display progress as the next loader is downloaded. When it has finished downloading, the main loader is animated out, and that next loader becomes the main loader. The process repeats endlessly, creating a perfect short-attention-span-theater. There's something hypnotic about a site that keeps loading itself."
How has the project evolved since it was conceived? "We created it in just a few days, after collecting loaders from a variety of our friends in the industry—Odopod, Firstborn, AgencyNet, to name a few. When we launched it, we sent out tweets and really didn't know what to expect or how quickly it would catch on. It has since gained nearly 1,500 followers on Twitter and has gotten almost half a million unique visitors. It's a museum so we continue to select those preloaders that will create a picture worth praising and remembering."