About the Exhibition

Spot a few rabbits in a row and you’ve got yourself an omen, a philosophy or a phobia. Humans are pattern-matching beasts.

Well—”matching” isn’t a strong enough word. We are pattern-forging creatures; pattern smashers, pattern steamrollers, nuclear atom-crushing pattern rippers, imposing hallucinatory structures on a soup of utterly incorrolatable flotsam. Any stray sparks in the void are eligible for greater meaning; before long we’ve crashed together Vegas in the night.

Chris Combs believes you could describe a lot of contemporary life in this way: good-intentioned folks skimming the garbage patch, and willing their scoopfuls to become perfect pearls. Or is he just stringing together his own pattern?

In Lossiness, Chris aims to explore the edges of perceptibility. Through selective destruction, warping and obscuring, he hopes to guide his viewers through their own pattern-matching hardware.

The word “lossiness” refers to a compression technique. We don’t really need every detail of every picture, right? Toss out some lesser-noticed pixels: you’ve got a JPEG. Do this 60 times a second, that’s YouTube. And we’re happy to patch in the gaps, building our own mini-deepfakes, tickling 90% of the same neurons because we didn’t have quite enough resources for the real thing. No matter—the pattern came through.

About the Venue


155 Gibbs Street Rockville, MD 20850 301.315.8200

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