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

Kill That Cat, 1999
Mouchette's standard biography reads: "My name is Mouchette. I am an artist. I live in Amsterdam. I am nearly 13 years old." Her deadpan expression of innocence is a setup devised to heighten the impact of her dark, violent art. In Kill That Cat, a quivering image of a cat's fanged, open maw, accompanied by a soundtrack of an awful howl, traps the viewer in committing a virtual act of violence. The only way to move away from the page to reach Rhizome is by clicking a button commanding the animal's death, which sends users to a message board and asks them to confess to their "crime" before they can proceed to Rhizome's home page.