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“Pretty Loaded” is composed of nearly 50 “preloaders,” animated graphics that show how much of a website has loaded. Big Spaceship, a Brooklyn-based creative agency, collected the preloaders on exhibit and created the application used to present them. These preloaders were originally produced by agencies (including Big Spaceship) and independent designers for websites primarily promoting films, television shows, and consumer products. Preloaders were initially intended to fill time while visitors waited for websites to load; in “Pretty Loaded,” they comprise the entire experience itself. Viewed one after another, they create a never-ending cycle, directing attention to the preloader as its own creative space and to the inventive ways in which designers communicate the simple idea of progress from 0 to 100 percent.

Preloaders were pervasive in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when image- and video-heavy websites created in Macromedia Flash (now Adobe Flash) were delivered over home Internet connections with speeds limited to 56 kbps. Originally, preloaders were utilitarian, employing progress bars, pie charts, or text, but designers soon started working inside the form’s constraints to create playful, engaging, and even suspenseful graphics that hinted at what lay beyond the preloader. The wide availability of broadband Internet and the waning use of Flash have rendered the preloader largely an artifact of the past.

Give students an unforgettable experience at Museum of the Moving Image. Exhibition tours, film and television screenings, and hands-on workshops help you teach the core curriculum with the support of a dynamic and interactive environment.Education programs meet New York State Learning Standards in Social Studies, English Language Arts, Math, Science, and Technology, and are aligned with the New York City Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts. To plan your trip, please visit our website