Chris Combs

“ZIP/ZCTA Deaccessioning Console”
Size: 6 x 4 x 3 inches
Medium: Aluminum enclosure, LCD, microcontrollers, vintage indicators, switches, ZCTA database
was $795

“The Heart Says”
Size: 8 x 9 x 2 inches
Medium: See 'n' Say, pigment inkjet printed replica label, modified electronics
was $495

“Extraction Potential”
Size: 4.5 x 3.5 x 1.5 inches
Medium: Gas sensors, fan, milled aluminum, custom circuit boards, laser toner, vintage Monsanto LED displays, OLED
$495 ︎ SOLD

Size: 4 x 6 x 2 inches
Medium: Aluminum enclosure, molybdenum, vintage indicators, Arduino, microphone, speaker, button
$495 ︎SOLD

why these were made and why the artist would like to part with them...

Interactive: The ZIP/ZCTA Deaccessioning Console lets you browse the database of all ZIP codes in the United States, view their population and vital statistics, and then delete them. Once a ZIP code (technically, ZCTA) is removed from the Console, it is permanently deleted from its storage. After all of them are removed, the machine will crash forever.

The Heart Says: “This modified See ‘n’ Say has had its animal sounds replaced with feelings, like “Nostalgia,” “Heartbreak,” and “Did Stuff.” This is a collaboration between A.C. Valdez, Chris Combs, and Rachel Kaufman. My role was to design the hardware and software. A.C. Valdez composed the sounds and Rachel Kaufman provided creative direction and helped fabricate the label for its enclosure. It was made for the 2018 "Sound Scene" festival put on by the DC Listening Lounge at the Hirshhorn.  It got a little bit worn with lots of use at the hands of the general public; the string has to be pulled pretty hard. Furthermore, our collaborative team wishes to convert it into beer, by way of fungible tokens, so as to fuel the creation of further works. “

Extraction Potential: “Interactive: Breathe into this artwork and its gas sensors will assess your chemical worth in USD. Why: (whispers) I have grown to dislike the font.” 

Bureautron: “Interactive: This artwork lets you speak a request, then "dials in" with a simulated modem to approve or deny it on the spot. Display: wall-mounted, with screws.  I would like to get it in somebody's hands who will appreciate it. Also, it's fun! And I'm not having fun with it!


About the Artist:
Chris Combs is an artist based in Washington, D.C who creates provocative technology. His first solo exhibition, Judging Me Judging You, at the DC Arts Center's Nano Gallery explored themes of surveillance and control, and his installation Maelstrom at Rhizome DC featured 35 machines spreading rumors about its visitors. "Madness Method," a large-scale collaboration with David Greenfieldboyce, is part of the Georgetown GLOW public art festival. He was selected as the Derek Lieu Spring 2020 Artist-in-Residence at HOLE IN THE SKY, and is a recipient of the DC CAH Arts and Humanities Fellowship program. His "Morale is Mandatory" is shortlisted for the 2021 Aesthetica Art Prize. Chris is a graduate of the Corcoran College of Art + Design. He was a photo editor for National Geographic for five years and has photographed autism, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and traffic cones. You can find his work at 

Artist Statement:
Chris Combs' artworks respond to pressing themes of surveillance, artificial intelligence, and algorithmic failure—and to the viewer, using facial recognition and motion sensing. He employs a wide range of practices to create circuit boards, software, and enclosures for interactive and time-based wood, metal, and found-object sculptures, which both embrace and question technology. Their custom circuitry is engineered by the artist and hand-soldered with millimeter-scale components. His sculptures address changes in our built technology environment—changes which often occur before we understand their implications.

Monday Nov 5 2018