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Aki Inomata


Japanese artist Aki Inomata has partnered with, of all things, hermit crabs, to create a brilliant architectural art project. Using a 3D printer, Inomata created clear plastic shells with cities on them that were then promptly inhabited by their new hermit crab residents.
Hermit crabs usually inhabit vacated snail shells, but in their absence, they’ve been known to inhabit pieces of wood, stone or plastic, so their “partnership” with Inomata isn’t all that strange. Instead of their usual shells, Inomata provided them with tiny works of art to carry on their backs. The series is aptly titled “Why Not Hand Over a ‘Shelter’ to Hermit Crabs?”
Check out the videos below, where you get to see how the shells were made and how the hermit crabs moved in to their new homes.


In this piece I gave hermit crabs shelters that I had made for them, and if they liked my shelters, they made their shells in them. My idea for this piece first came about when I participated in the "No Man's land" exhibition that was held in the French Embassy in Japan in 2009. This work is inspired by the fact that the land of the former French Embassy in Japan had been French until October 2009, and became Japanese for the following fifty years, before being returned to France. The same piece of land is peacefully transferred from one country to the other. These kinds of things take place without our being aware of it. On the other hand, similar events are not unrelated to us as individuals. For example, acquiring nationality, moving, and migration. The hermit crabs wearing the shelters I built for them, which imitate the architecture of various countries, appeared to be crossing various national borders. Though the body of the hermit crab is the same, according to the shell it is wearing, its appearance changes completely. It’s as if they were asking, “Who are you?”







MB

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