Panta Rhei

Panta Rhei (2009) – Lanier Sammons and Peter Traub

Panta Rhei is an audio/visual instrument capable of displaying an emergent system in light, allowing human interaction with that system, and translating the resulting information into music. The concept of emergence, as it appears throughout natural, social, and technological worlds, is central to the work. Panta Rhei differs from other representations of emergent systems in its ability to display emergent properties on multiple aesthetic levels and through its incorporation of human interaction as an agent of disturbance in the system. The title of the piece is taken from a common encapsulation of ideas expressed by Heraclitus; it is often translated as “everything flows.”

Panta Rhei (2008) – Lanier Sammons and Peter Traub in collaboration with Andrew Hamm, Jennifer Siomacco, and Wendy Stober

The original version of Panta Rhei resulted from a joint class of architecture undergrads and music grads offered in early 2008 at UVA, called “Robotic Ecologies”. Panta Rhei was our team’s final project, and consisted of a LEDs and photoresistors built into a structure with a solenoid-driven movable surface. The entire interactive device was controlled by Arduino microcontroller boards connected to a Mac laptop running Max/MSP. The summer after the class, one of the undergrads, Andrew Hamm, had his brother make a short documentary about the project in which Lanier Sammons and I talk about the concepts behind Panta Rhei.