petros vrellis

new media artist

Out of all things one, and out of one all things (2023)

A visual exploration of Heraclitus' ideas



This series of artwork is a tribute to Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher born 540 BCE. Only fragments of his work have survived. He is famously known in his doctrine “Everything changes and nothing remains still” («τὰ πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει»). Central ideas of Heraclitus’ philosophy are the unity of opposites and impermanence. Specifically, he states: “Everything is connected and not connected; converging by diverging, harmonious by dissonance, and out of all things one, and out of one all things” («συνάψιες ὅλα καὶ οὐχ ὅλα, συμφερόμενον διαφερόμενον, συνᾷδον διᾷδον, καὶ ἐκ πάντων ἓν καὶ ἐξ ἑνὸς πάντα»). Also: “As the same thing in us is alive and dead, waking and sleeping, young and old, awake and asleep, young and old; the former are shifted and become the latter, and the latter in turn are shifted and become the former” («ταὐτό τ' ἔνι ζῶν καὶ τεθνηκὸς καὶ [τὸ] ἐγρηγορὸς καὶ καθεῦδον καὶ νέον καὶ γηραιόν∙ τάδε γὰρ μεταπεσόντα ἐκεῖνά ἐστι κἀκεῖνα πάλιν μεταπεσόντα ταῦτα»).

This project attempts to explore these concepts visually. Various ideas urge to unfold: Can an image be formed from other irrelevant images? Or, vice versa, can irrelevant images compose a completely new image? Furthermore, can irrelevant images compose more than one new image?
All these ideas sound completely irrational. Undoubtedly, we have the established view that an image is a self contained piece. How else can it be, since an image contains visual information about a specific subject: a portrait of a person, an object, a landscape and so on.
Using an algorithm specifically developed for this purpose, it is possible to explore these groundbreaking visuals. The algorithm deconstructs the images into fragments that are subtly hidden into other images. Then, by blending them together, the ‘hidden’ images are revealed.

First Demonstration
The videos above demonstrate this visual concept. The images -as physical objects- are prints on transparent sheets. Only a few possibilities of numerous combinations available are shown:
  • a portrait of a baby forms from three images of geometric art
  • a portrait of a child forms from three images of geometric art; then a portrait of an old lady forms from the very same images when rotated.
  • a portrait of a baby, a man and an aged man form by quartets out of six images of geometric art.
  • a painting of Jesus is formed from nine images of mugshot photographs (taken from the archive of Australia’s “New South Wales Police”)
These examples only show the potential of this visual concept, an exploration that has only begun.

Photos the artwork

Geometric artwork that partially carries the portrait of a baby

Geometric artwork that partially carries the portrait of a girl and the portrait of an old woman

Large scale installations
The early prototypes in the presentation video are only 20 X 20 cm (about 8 X 8 inches). Larger scale installations could be implemented in sliding windows:

Artwork available for sale
A limited number of artwork is available as NFT at OpenSea.
Soon, a limited number of the physical artwork will be available at Saatchi Art.
Please contact us at: for custom designs.