The hermit crabs change their shells as they grow and sometimes they are kicked out of their shelters by stronger hermit crabs and forced to exchange shells.

Aki Inomata is a Japanese artist that decided to give hermit crabs a house: when she participated in the exhibition “No Man’s Land”, held at the French Embassy in Japan in 2009, she was inspired by the fact that “the land of the former French Embassy in Japan had been French until October 2009, and then became Japanese for the following fifty years, after which it will be returned to France. I was surprised to hear this story, and associated this image with the way that hermit crabs exchange shelters. A piece of land is peacefully exchanged between two countries. While it is the same piece of land, our definition of it changes. In the same way, the appearance of hermit crabs changes completely as they exchange shelters.”

The artist decided to 3D print shelters representing the cities of the world, to comment on the concept of peaceful exchange of land. “It also brings to mind migrants and refugees changing their nationalities and the places where they live. The first time that I made this piece, I only gave the hermit crabs spherical shapes, but they ignored my “shelters”. Using CT scans, I studied the natural shapes of hermit crab shells, and by printing out the 3DCG data using 3D printers, I was able to create “shelters” that the hermit crabs would move into.”

Visit Aki’s page to see more projects!


All Rights Reserved (C) AKI INOMATA courtesy of MAHO KUBOTA GALLERY

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